IN 1870, at the height of Victorian prudery, two young men were arrested in a London theatre. They were in women’s clothing, extravagantly made up, and flirting outrageously with anything in trousers. Their crime? ‘Incitement to sodomy.’

As their trial progressed, it became clear that their arrest was part of a plan hatched at the highest levels of the British government to crack down on’ sexual immorality.’ Unfortunately for the prosecution, ‘Fanny’ and ‘Stella’ also had connections with the rich and powerful, through the sexual underground which flourished beneath the veneer of Victorian respectability …

See my review of Fanny and Stella by Neil McKenna in the July 2013 issue of Australian Book Review.

Written by : Paul Morgan

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