Exploring non-normative sexuality in 19th century France

During the mid 19th century, non-normative sexual identities were viewed by mainstream French society as vulgar, if not to say pathological, and for the most part, the topic was considered taboo. For this reason, it is often difficult today to find traces of these identities, whether in literature, scientific writing, or art. Furthermore, the descriptions of non-normative sexualities that do exist from this time are rarely written by the people who actually identified in this way, giving rise to a certain degree of misinterpretation, fetishization, and voyeurism. In this exhibit we draw on a variety of different media (lithographs, medical and proto-sociological texts, visual art, and poetry) to understand tribadisme or female homosexuality--a complex and often forgotten part of history. Through these media we attempt to piece together some form of narrative for these women left behind by history.



Emilie Lozier, Sophie Kemp, Eleanor Van Buren, and Raphael Boden