PRIDE x r/LGBT Reddit Talk: Pirate Queens w/ Rebecca Simon
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 1 month ago

PRIDE x r/LGBT Reddit Talk: Pirate Queens w/ Rebecca Simon

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

REDDIT TALK BONUS EPISODE: Please enjoy this recording from our most recent chat with Levi, pirate historian Rebecca Simon, and Reddit's r/lgbt community recapping Season 2, Episode 3: Pirate Queens.We invite you to join live future talks by following the subreddit r/lgbt, and we will continue to share recordings of talks as they become available. We're so excited to have partnered with r/lgbt for live weekly Reddit Talks recapping our episodes and providing a platform for listeners and Redditors alike to ask questions and engage with other LGBTQ+ people.

Your host is Levi Chambers, founder of Rainbo Media Co. You can follow Levi @levichambers across socials.

Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @PRIDE across socials.

Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com.

Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com.

PRIDE is produced by Levi Chambers, Frank Driscoll, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson, and Brandon Marlo. Edited by Frank Driscoll and Daniel Ferrera.

*This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media.

Hey everyone, this is the right chambers, the host of the pride podcast. Last week we were joined by Dr Rebecca Simon for another conversation about the queer history of pirates, and this week we took the conversation to our slash lgbt for a reddit talk with Rebecca answering more questions about the queer and not so queer history of pirates. Tune in next week for a new episode featuring traveling nurse and HIV educator Brian Thomas. We talk all about his experience with monkey poks and Brian offers some tips to staying safe. Until then, enjoy our reddit talk with Rebecca on the Queer History of pirates. Hi Everyone, I'm Levi. I'm the host of the pride podcast, which we do in partnership with Straw hot media and, in addition to not to do a whole bunch of gay things on the Internet. Um, we I oversee at LGBT and LGBT Q and Pride on Instagram, Tiktok, twitter and all over the place. So my day is pretty much queer. It's very queer all day. I mean, if you are queer, then every day is queer. That's true. That's true him. Thank you very much for inviting me here to speak of my name is Rebecca and I'm a historian of piracy and I've had the really fun, amazing honor of being on Levi's podcast twice to talk about pirates and most recently about the female pirates and Buddy and Mary Reid. So I'm very excited to join you all today. We're glad to have you. If you remember the very first reddit talk that we did, we actually kind of went off on this tangent about lgbtq pirates and queer pirates and and kind of the history of that and got talking about an Bonnie and Mary read and there was a lot of excitement about it, which inspired us at the podcast to do another episode, because Rebecca has she's written several books and and articles and all sorts of things on pirates. She's been on Netflix and the history channel. She's literally an expert and knows everything. That's that's just kind of my my thoughts there. But she had a new book that she just finished. It just came out. She did a ton of research into the lives of and Bonnie and Mary read who, according to history, kind of before her book were hypothesized to be Queer and Rebecca spent a lot of time, I mean she actually I think she's either still across the pond or she just got back, but she's been doing all sorts of things looking more into pirates and she discovered a lot of new information, specifically about and Bonnie and Mary read that we honestly didn't even talk about when she was on the podcast two years ago. She had a different understanding in some capacity and then found lots of new information. So we had her back on and obviously you can listen to the podcast to get into the nitty gritty details of it. But, Um, what I think would be great is if Rebecca, if you don't mind talking just a little bit about kind of the research that you're that you did to Um release your new book, Pirate Queen's, all all the things that went into that, and talk a little bit about kind of the Um, I'd say, transition. You know in some way in the in terms of your understanding of the Queer History of pirates, that the things that have changed as you've learned more and more. So I'd love for you to kind of talk to everybody a little bit about kind of where you were in your research with Queer Pirates and where you are today. Absolutely. Thanks so much, Levi. So yeah, this book of Pirate Queen says it was such a journey going and researching and Bonnie and Mary read because they're such fascinating pirates that we actually don't really know very much about because there's so little information. And before I started researching about them, you know I had heard, you know, I'd already researched them before because I did pirates as my masters and my doctorate, and so I already had kind of a working knowledge Um and in terms of queer pirates, again had a bit of a working knowledge and there's a huge debate in the historical community about whether or not um there were queer pirates, and so that's always been a really interesting discussion, especially because there's such little information. So when I went in talking about Ambonnie and Mary read with Levi's podcast initially back in I knew so much less about them and I thought I already knew quite a bit at the time. So that's what's so good about history is the more you learned, the less you know. It's kind of it's kind of funny that way. But initially, you know, I had this idea these were two women and they may or may not have been uh queer, they may not have been lovers, or they may or may not have been lovers, and I kind of mostly knew a lot about kind of the legends about them. So when I wrote this biography I had to go really, really deep into the research about them and there were some challenges. First off, I researched and wrote this book throughout the pandemic, which meant there were some limitations in terms of what I could do. But thank God, like there are so many historians and there are so many libraries and archives that just opened up so much of their digital stuff for open access and traded resources. So and that was just so great see like...

...everyone come together in that way. But basically, researching and Bonny and Mary read was hard because there's only two sources about them. Um. The first is a seventeen twenty four book called a General History of the pirates by Captain Charles Johnson, and that's basically a collection of pirate biographies and some of them are quite factual, but a lot of them are very fictionalized and one of the chapters that's probably quite fictionalized. is about an Bonnie and Mary read and there have been there's been documentation that the author of the book deliberately wrote it to be similar to a novel. And Bonnie and Mary read were used as marketing tools in the eighteenth century. On every advert you see their names pop up. Their names are kind of highlighted in the title page. And then the other source is their trial. So they were arrested Um and they sailed with Captain Jack Rackham, who and Bonnie was actually married to, and they were all arrested in October of seventeen twenty and put on trial in Jamaica in November seventeen twenty, and the trial kind of details all their crimes as pirates, all their activities and how they acted, how they presented themselves on the ship through I witness testimony. So these are the only two real sources. That and a couple of scattered ones, one of which was a proclamation from the governor of the Bahamas, Woods Rogers, demanding the arrest for the female pirates and Bonnie and Mary read along Jack Rackham, and that was a game changer piece of evidence because it was just like a tiny little document, just one paragraph, but what it showed was that this longstanding idea that Mary Reid had disguised herself as a man and lived as a man for years and years and years and joined the pirate ship as a man and and Bonnie fell in love with her not realizing she was a man, but then their love continued. That has always kind of been the narrative. But this document showed that the governor of the Bahamas knew that there were two women on the ship, which meant Mary Reid was not disguising herself as a man going on the ship. And this kind of just opened up all the history for me now, and so kind of really broadened everything and allowed me to go into new directions and a lot of new theory. And also what this book allowed me to do is because there is such a little information about them, I was able to go into so much social and historical context about the lives of women during the eighteenth century, women in the military, women at sea, what gender was like at C lgbt life at sea and everything like that. So, Um, I can go on and on and on and I want to take up too much time on that, but that's basically kind of has been the journey. And Yeah, everything I thought I kne about Amboni may Reid was just so miniscule. So by the time I got talked to Levi again, it was almost like everything I've said before was it's just completely different now, oh my gosh. So, personally that brings up so many questions that I don't know if you've covered in the podcast. So I'M gonna have to give this lesson listening just because now I'm so much more but it was it kind of a situation where historians or saw it as a UH, they didn't want to like pointed out as our relationship that want anything but beyond foot was known. So it was kind of a Sappho and her friend kind of idea because they didn't want to apply any of our current understanding of sexuality and gender on it. Or was it just was it something else? Well, what's really interesting and also what the big challenges about, Um, looking at lgbt history, is that there is this very long standing tradition, for lack of better terms, of Queer erasure in history. That can never ever be denied, and part of it is because of just kind of long standing historical traditions that have been very male dominated and very conservative in general, and it's really only been like in the past, like I would say twenty or thirty years, that people have really began to broaden the study of LGBT history and everything like that. But the major challenge that comes through is that when we're looking back at the eighteenth century, the seventeen hundreds and earlier, the concept of homosexuality or lesbianism everything like that. TRANSGENDERISM didn't actually exist as a concept in the eighteenth century and earlier, and those concepts didn't really start until the nineteenth century. And so historical documents from the eighteenth century and back, when they're referencing gay men, it's only referenced as sodomy or someone with quote unquote, peculiar tastes, because it was considered to be a crime. Now for women, the idea of a sapphic relationship, a lesbian relationship, that had no concept whatsoever, because female sexuality in a way wasn't even a concept either, and the idea was basically even if a woman was married and her husband caught her having a relationship with a woman, it wasn't a big deal because with a woman with another woman there's no penis involved, and kind of the definition of...

...a sexual relationship and the definition of adultery was basically if a woman slept with another man, someone with a penis, basically. And so this is what makes it so difficult, because there's no written information and as historians we do have to get very literal about a lot of things. It's very difficult to make the claim of yes, these people who are definitely lesbians, or yes, there was this whole Um Queer group here, Queer Group, that they were a couple, etcetera, etcetera. When there's no documentation that tells us this, it's very difficult to make that claim, which is the unfortunate reality of kind of the field. And so this is so for me Um, when I'm researching am Bonny Mary Reid, you know, I'm trying to be as authentic to the history as possible while also trying to bring through the modern day concepts and how we can apply it to history, while still also being authentic to what actually exists within the historical narrative. But there still is a huge problem with Queer erasure and history and I do very much that and I think we need to do a lot of work to actually bring it forward a lot more. It's just there are so many challenges with it, but that's also what makes it so cool, and this is why the field it's just, it's just, it's growing and it's going to keep growing. Oh yeah, I honestly, that's that's exactly like what I was thinking about Um, with the amount of erasure there is and just what's written down, it's kind of amazing. I didn't even know that. I like a woman having like a relationship outside of marriage. It didn't include a penis. It wasn't considered adultering. Was it like a legal thing or or more of just like something that wasn't considered at all. It was a legal thing. So there we're actual laws of adultery kind of written in the books. But it was also kind of a sort of like the social contract as well. Um, socially, societally, Um, the idea of sex in general and relationship in relations to women as what's interesting is that as time is going on, into what we call the early modern period, going into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, women's sexuality becomes erased and the idea is that they're not really sexual beings, and so, as a result, sex between two women just could not exist, and that was more kind of like the social contrast, but generally accepted, and I think there were some laws that Um that. It's not that they don't necessarily specify that sex with a woman is considered adultery or not, it's just that, you know, they're very, very specific referring to men in those laws, men and women. And what's also interesting is that, despite the fact that women's sexuality is like totally erased during this time period, the people who get punished for adultery are primarily women. So that's kind of like, you know, the catch twenty two or the irony of the whole situation. That's really cool. Um. One of the questions before, because you're here and this is a really interesting topic. Um. So you were talking about gender on ships and the way people played with it and I was curious what did do you mean by that, like in general, um, because it sounds really interesting and I don't know how you would manage to find history on that, since I'd assume a lot of documentation on sea child didn't happen as much. So yeah, so in terms of gender I was kind of meaning meaning Um a little bit, a little bit literally, so I probably should have said, Um, you know, biological sex or something like that. Um. But there is also kind of this big debate in terms of gender roles on a ship, because there's this whole idea that women weren't allowed on ships. But there were women on ships, for example, such as and Bonnie and Mary Reid were very active participants on their ship, and part of the reason is because Anne was married to the captain, and captains, even on pirate ships, sometimes could bring women or bring their wives, although generally, for the most part, pirate ships in particular band women. There were these things called the pirate articles, or the Pirate Code, as we more thinks, as we know it because of pop culture, and some of them specified very much. What's interesting, do not the pirate partholomy Roberts, and one of the articles, think article for he writes, you know, you cannot bring any women or boys onto the ship, which very much and something I've argued Um, in another project I just finished about life on the pirate ship. That that does kind of show that there was some same sex relationships or at least Um sexual sexual activity between two men if they're specifying not to bring, you know, boys as well. Um, it could be for various other reasons, but I think that is like a very interesting choice of wards to kind of go in there. And ideas about gender also is quite about on the ship is quite interesting because it's very much considered to be such masculine work and there was this idea that women could not be on a ship because they did not have the physical or mental capacity to be able...

...to handle it. Yet at the same time, sailors are doing a lot of what's traditionally women's work, such as they have to know how to sew and they have to be able to repair their clothing and the masks, they have to know, Um, they have to know a lot of home remedies in terms of illness and injury, which was also considered to be more of a female thing, Um, and everything like that. So it's quite interesting. You know, women not being allowed on ships, and yet men had to kind of adopt some women's roles, and also the ship is referred to with female pronouns, Um, despite the fact that a lot of times women weren't welcome on a ship. So there's such like a contradiction here with kind of how gender is perceived and performed in so many different ways. The reason why I asked that is specifically why are the reasonab how you answered it. Um, yes, I know gender wasn't typically something I was played as much with in those times, at least on documented notes that we have, but I can see what you're saying in terms of like relationships or or having mean women only ships. Is is in a way playing with those gender roles and identities. Yeah, yeah, exactly. It's it's such a fascinating and also kind of a complicated area study to kind of get into, especially because the maritime world is so fascinating but also so mysterious, because many pirates generally did not leave records because it could implicate them or records could have been destroyed, but also there are lots of ships in general where you know records might be scattered or they might have been lost. Um, there are so like I very much believe they're probably way more women on ships than we actually know and they probably just weren't recorded. And especially with pirates, we won't know because those documents just do not exist. And it was also very, very rare for a woman to actually get arrested and put on trial and be executed, or at least get sentenced to be executed, the way an Bonnie and Mary read were. They were very much an exception to a rule in that case. Um, I don't know if this is probably just maybe you weren't interestingly, but you had said something akin to all the women on the ships. I think that was was someone who is sending out like a restaurant wasn't from the Bahamas? Yeah, the governor woods Rogers of the Bahamas, because they sailed out of a city called Nassau, which had been known for a long time it's like a pirate city and so many pirates will congregate there. If any of you um here have seen the show black sales Um, that takes place in Nassau, and that was a real city and woods rogers was a real governor and he did send out proclamations trying to eradicate piracy at all costs. And Rebecca, just speaking to your reference to a television show and like the media, I know in the episode we just had we also brought up the really relevant show right now that just I believe it just wrapped. It's its final episode recently is the h Yo show Um our flag means death, by Tychow TV. It's it's a story about blackbeard and about Um, the gentleman pirates Steve Bonnet, both of whom are actual historical figures. Um and the show really kind of depicts this pirate ship as a very openly queer, queer friendly pirate ship with non binary relationships, Trans Relationships, gay relationships, lesbian relationships. Can you can you kind of speak to the accuracy of that show and then also touch on we we've touched on I think, in terms of like female queerness or or sort of FTM transness, queerness, cross dressing, however you want to refer to it, but also can you speak to kind of this idea of like flamboyance on on pirate ships and how oftentimes captains would be perceived as or could be perceived as more flamboyant and perhaps why there's this story of Steed Bonnet being potentially gay? Yeah, absolutely so. Our flagman's death is a really interesting show and something that impressed me about it was just how much it highlighted the diversity in always on the pirate ship, because diversity on pirate ships isn't always done very, very well, and a lot of this I think, was exaggerated a little bit for like comedic effect and kind of for the narrative of the show. But I really did enjoy how you had a ship that was made up of people from loads of different countries and you did see evidence of queer relationships and you did have a non binary, uh pirate on the show as well, which was played by also, I believe, a non binary actor, and so I was really really impressed by that and those details. Now, what's quite interesting is that this is kind of where the debate amongst historians and, Um, people who research pirates. Again, we don't have documentation of how many Um, lgbt pirates there might have been, but what I think the show was also doing was kind of highlighting that this life did exist on pirate ships, because pirates did engage...

...in something called matallettage. Um, I have no idea if I'm pronouncing that right. I've never actually heard anyone say it besides myself. So Um, and what Matal litage was? It was basically kind of a civil union on ships generally between pirates, and what it did is it kind of sort of legally bound each other so that way, in case one of them died, they could legally leave their goods to someone else, and this was usually done with very close friends and sometimes it was done, yes, to clarify two men. And now there's the whole debate. Where they doing it be out of love and romance or was it done for practical reasons? And that's something again very debatable and it was probably both. Um, it probably just depended. But there are actual documents, Um, that I have in one of my book collections here for my own research, um of metal lettage agreements that were written down and that were saved. So this very much existed and pirate ships were played. Says meant for people who very much lived on the fringe of society and our flag means death. is very cool because they really kind of build that up a lot in the show, more so than others do. And in the eighteenth century, who would have been on the most fringe of society's Queer people, of course, because that existence was illegal, and today it's still very much illegal in so many places. So in a lot of ways that's quite groundbreaking and it's interesting that they kind of chose to show sort of Um, the relate the way they showed the relationship between Steed Bonnet and black beard is kind of falling in love with each other. That goes against the historical narrative. The reality is the two of them actually did hate each other and they never even sailed on the same ship. Um. So. So that kind of as a historian, that's kind of where I would sort of like grip my teeth a tiny bit because, Um, I have a lot of people kind of telling me like no, the show showed they were a gay couple, and I'm like not really, but I think what also showed was just a very complicated relationship that, um, the two of them actually did have. In real life there was a major power struggle between the two until black beard. This is switched in the show. Black beards the one who actually portrays bonnet and abandons him to the authorities. Um, in real life, where's in the show they flipped, which I found it to be a really interesting choice. Um, I'm not sure why they did that, but I liked that. I was like, oh, that's a twist and yeah, maybe we'll find out in season two. Yeah, yeah, maybe we will. Um, Oh gosh, there was another question you asked me. Um, yeah, just about like a general kind of this. I think the pirates historically, oftentimes pirate captains especially, are sort of portrayed in this very plamboyant possibly even like hints of Queerness or or just like undertones of gayness. And you know, I even think about Captain Hook and just like the feathers and the way he's dressed and the shoes he wears and his you know, riskiness or whatever you want to call it. Like there's definitely these underlying kind of weird I guess I would say nods, for lack of a better word. Yeah, so this is that and that kind of being portrayed in the media, of pirates sort of being flamboyant. That is very much a reality. That's very accurate. Many pirate captains in particular deliberately dressed as in as much finery as they could. So, for instance, the pirate black beard from our flagman's death, what he really kind of showed off for himself was having very long black hair and a very long black beard. That's what he was known for and what's quite interesting is that it went against all social conventions of the time because in the eighteenth century, in order to be considered a gentleman or a polite person in polite society, men wore their hair tied back under a wig or and they would have their Um, they would have a clean shaven face, and black beard deliberately did like kind of the exact opposite. For shock value. Bonnet was known as the gentleman pirate because he was very educated. It is true. On the show, you know, it shows that he brought like his whole library with him. That is true. He did Um, do at he did dress in finery, like the nicest clothes because he was so wealthy. He did also pay his pirates Um a salary, which was unheard of. Pirates were paid in goods they stole. That was evenly distributed. So I was very impressed by that details. Yeah, yeah, in a lot of ways and Um, but what's funny is that kind of like what the show also showed. He was a terrible pirate because they had no experience. But he did dress that way and you have other pirate captains who did the same. Um, Jack Rackham, who was married to Anne Bonnie. He was known as Calico Jack Rackham because he also dressed in very fine clothing, and pretty much all pirate captains did, and the reason for this is a few things. One, they were able to get fine clothing because they plundered so many ships and textiles were always like the number one item people have always been trading for since like the ancient period, and that was and also, by dressing really fine like that, it kind of was a way of sort of intimidating people, kind of being like look, how powerful we are, that we can dressed this...

...way, because in order to show off your wealth in the eighteenth century, you did it through your clothing. Also, it was a way to kind of intimidate people as well, you know, like, Oh my God, how can someone who looks like such a gentleman actually attack us? So in terms of kind of a flamboyantnus of like the way we think of it, and kind of in relation to, you know, Queer people and kind of that flamaboy and dressed and everything like that. Um that it's a bit interesting with the eighteenth century because that actually was very much a style for men in general, Um, to be considered very civilized and polite, and that comes out of French society. France was very much the country that like influenced all styles uh time period. They were like the Cultural Capital of Europe. So in terms of flamboyant, the way we think it, that's US kind of applying our twenty one century UH concept to the plan buoyantnus. But pirates did dress that way on purpose because they wanted to be noticed in that way as a way of intimidation and as a way of kind of one was creating sort of like a theatricality about them. Yeah, yeah, and then just to quickly, so I'd love to open this up to the audience. We've we've been talking for a little while now and I'd love to hear their questions. But I think my last point I'd like to bring up is there's less certainty now that Anne, Bonnie and Mary read were UH lovers or a lesbian couple or or there's just with no way of knowing. But what we do know is that they used, they both used femininity and masculinity, especially when they were battling. Can you quickly, just before we opened the step two more questions, speak to kind of that playing around with gender? That and Bonnie and Mary Reid did. Yeah, absolutely, and so this is what makes them so fascinating is that, according to wy witness testimony survivors of their attacks, when and Bonnie and Mary Reid were fighting, they wore men's clothing but at the same time made no attempts to hide their gender. They kept their long they didn't even tie back their hair, so you can see they had very long hair. They would fight with their shirts open or, at the very least, kind of very low cut, so that way their breasts were exposed and this was an intimidation tactic. and Um pirates actually did use nudity sometimes as intimidation tactics because, but particularly for these women, you know, if you're being attacked by pirates and suddenly two women are coming at you, you're going to kind of freeze in your tracks, and this was an intimidation tactic to make it that way the other person would surrender as fast as they could. But what's really interesting is that even though and Bonnie and Mary Reid weren't trying to hide their gender, they also acted very masculine, or stereotypically masculine, while fighting. They were reportedly they reportedly swore more cursed more Um than any of the men they fought harder. They were a lot fiercer there. At one point they captured a woman and and Bonnie and Mary Reid wanted to kill her and it was Jack Rackham who said No. Um, so they would go to their extremes. But then what's also interesting is that, according to my witness testimony, when they were not fighting, they dressed in their they dressed in women's clothing. So Um, yeah, it is, because there's kind of been this long idea that like, oh, they might have been like transgender or something like that, but the reality is they're probably wearing men's clothing for practical reasons while fighting, because they would dawn their traditional feminine dress and it could be maybe they were socially conditioned to do that. Maybe it's just because they liked to. We we don't actually know those reasons, but it is very interesting how they were able to kind of use their gender femininity to their advantage in a very masculine world, while also taking on mask traditionally masculine traits as well. I think it might be worth pointing out that these are all from historical records, right. So a lot of that the idea that we have historical records that say they were more masculine could be from people who wanted to portray them as more masculine to either feel less self conscious or something else. Is that true? Yeah, absolutely, because those witness testimonies come directly from the trial transcript and it is very possible that because these women were acting so far outside the realm of how women were expected to be during the time period that any tiny transgression they did was probably blown way out of proportion, especially in this world, Um, you know, on a pirate ship, of one being on a ship is a very masculine world and to a pirate ship way more so. So it's very possible that, you know, they might not have been fighting anymore so than any of the other pirates, but because they were women doing this outside of what was expected, it very much could have been blown out of proportion. Um. But we have a comment in the question, a question in the Commons and then I thought was pretty well done, and it asked, since there's not a lot of understanding of homosexual homosexuality and transgenderis um before the nineteenth century, what kind of references are there in history that speak about the homosexual activity or transgenderism...

...and how far back does that go in terms of the pirate world or the golden agor piracy. In the sixteen seventeen hundreds, there is historical records of a lot of homosexual activity taking place and, for instance, the Caribbean general had a very huge masculine majority, very few women initially when plantation islands are being founded, to the point where men were known to have sex with each other, sometimes maybe because they were queer, other times it could have been situate what we call situational homosexuality, where you develop these romantic relationships when you're in just a very close situation, um, for a long period of time. And it got to the point where, Um, the governor of Tortuga, his name escapes me at the moment, he actually brought in fifteen hundred prostitutes to Tortuga from France in order to get the men to kind of stop having sex with each other. So this was clearly like a huge concern um in terms of kind of going back like way through the historical record, kind of way back in history. I can't speak a massive amount to that because, um, my focus is so much the sixteen and seventeen hundreds. The big question. I know a lot of people have has to do with like ancient Roman Greece, particularly ancient Greece, which was known to have a lot of sexual relationships, especially amongst the Spartans, but those were ways to kind of create sort of bond, like loyalty bonds with each other, but also as a way to kind of um sort of like male dominance as well, especially within the Spartan armies. Yeah, and then in the nineteenth century it kind of starts changing and I'm not exactly sure where that change begins or how that change begins. What I do know, and someone correct me if I'm wrong about this, but what I do know is I believe Oscar Wilde, who was put on trial for Um, having sex with men, that was the first time homosexuality was actually used as a legal term, or at the very least in kind of that in a trial context. But I'm not exactly sure how that concept changes. But it appears that people do in a way start becoming a bit more open with homosexuality in the nineteenth century, not in any way like in the twentieth century, but more clubs became a bit more known. They were always kind of secret, underground clubs. Code words became a lot more well known and people and they, those communities were able to expand where people could find each other and they weren't just kind of, you know, hiding in the wings like they've been well before. But again, I'm not really quite sure how this history sort of transitions kind of throughout the different time periods, though it's still an area that I have to dive much deeper into. That's that's still really cool, though. Um, I invited up uh more than I'm not entirely sure. Hi. Um, so, I'm actually a straight male. So I mean, I don't know a lot about LGBT, but I do have a question. So my question is about how does I don't know why, but, Um, gay people seem to have a different voice. Um, as a those two regular men, I don't know if the I don't know if their sexual orientation has affected their voice in any way. So I I want to understand why people who identify as, Um, you know, an opposite gender or who are gay or a lesbian, why do they have a what do they have a different voice? To make this more on topic with the talk, do we know maybe how like ef feminine voices or something like that affected maybe the time period. Um, maybe there's more more feminine kind of voices out there for a game and that were known about in in those time periods. Well, that also is something we can't really know for certain, because the language people use when they wrote each other, particularly between men, which is also which is very interesting, is that the writings were tended to be very intimate and what we might think of as almost flowery, particularly amongst more like middle and upper class, like educated men. So you we see lots of letters Um, where between two men where they're being very, very affectionate with each other and you know, we think like Oh, they might have had a relationship or romantic relationship, but at the same time it also fits in with kind of general language of the time. So in terms of like if it's different between, you know, straight men of the time period or queer men of the time period, again, it's like, I hate saying this as a historian, it's something we can't really know for certain, but it is really interesting when we're trying to interpret letters between to kind of go with the trope very close friends, as I see, uh, you know, as memes online all the time like Oh, you know, they were historians, very close friends. It is very, very possible that some of them might have actually had Um. Oh No, I'm not gonna say possible. It is definite that some of them very much did have romantic relationships, because there have always been queer people throughout human history, of course, and but we just it's just a little hard to disseminate who, if that makes sense, because the writing style...

...was so similar in general. They might maybe use a bit some more affectionate words, but again it was still very, very common in in written correspondence in general. Fair enough, I mean it is kind of hard to determine someone's speech pattern based off of written word in general. Guests, to go on a bit more on topic. We were talking about gay people, but I'd assume it would be a lot harder to figure out about like Trans People in in that, especially in the sixteen hundred, Sev hundreds, that that time century. Kind of area are there known Um kind of trans people or um like kind of the same idea as like gay bars, ish or clubs, but Um more so related to the Trans Community or or even drag King Slash Queen Community. What I do know is I think Um a lot of those types of communities that we know more about kind of really started in the Um in the nineteenth century, or at least that's where we start seeing evidence for it, and I know particularly with women in London in the nineteenth century, Um women who would dress as men were sometimes referred to as Tom's and that was kind of like sort of a code word that eventually people kind of caught onto. Were women who preferred to dress as men? Um We don't know, and it's very possible they might have been transgender. I think there was also a word for men who dress as women as well, but I don't actually remember what that word is. There were societies going way back, um into like the ancient classical period, of people who were transgender and in polytheistic societies were actually kind of revered in a way because it was believed that they were made up of both genders and that therefore they were kind of touched by the gods. And I'm not sure when this kind of transition from that belief change, and it was obviously when we became monotheistic and the church began taking over everything, and that's a whole other discussion, but that did exist in older cultures and then I know again from like the nineteen early nineteenth century onward. And yes, we did start to see Um communities of people who were what we would probably were probably transgender, particularly in France. Like a lot of people within those communities went to Paris. Paris kind of became known as like this place for people to go. People also sometimes go to Amsterdam, which was known to just be a bit more tolerant of many different populations in general, but France kind of became known as kind of the place to go, as where a lot of writers congregated. It was the source of the enlightenment, you know, so all the idea about like equality and new ideas of humanity. So kind of like a lot of people just sort of gravitated into that region for it, and that's where we start to kind of see a lot more open evidence of of possible transgender people. I invite that's heather. You should be able to see a microphone button you can use time. Hi. Uh, my questions actually. UH, considering that homosexuality was a difficult concept to grasp, would bisexuality have been easier or more difficult for them to grasp in that time period? Oh, that is a really, really good question and it is, and the reason why say it's a good question is because there have been lgbt historians who have like try, who have like explored the concept of bisexuality during those time periods, and I think that bisexuality was even less kind of considered or bisexuality. You know, we kind of say that there's a lot of bisexual bisexual eratier today. We'll amplify that by like hundreds for the early modern period, because the idea was well through bisexual then that means you're having sex with the quote unquote correct gender. So therefore bisexuality as a concept didn't exist. And if men, I'm going to have to speak to men because you know, usually, again, a lot of the idea of homosexuality really only applied to men. If a man was married to a woman but then would have sex with men, if he was vice, whether or not he might have been bisexual or gay and married just for Social Convention, he would be known. If, if people knew about it, they would just kind of look away or kind of refer to that person as having quote unquote, peculiar tastes. If, again, if a woman was married to a man and also have a relationship with another woman. It wasn't seen as anything criminal and it wasn't even counted. So bisexuality was, I don't think, based on what I've been researching, I don't think was a concept at all. If that makes sense. That does also. I would like to mention that was that was a really good question. Thank you for asking whether. Thank you for giving me the time. Absolutely now I'll do one or more refresh see if there's any interesting comments. Oh, actually, here's a good one. So are there or or what kind of resources do you use when you're writing your books? Um, and where do you get your overall knowledge? How many, how much of what you have is from maybe like newspapers or primary sources from the time itself? Great questions.

So I have painstakingly been compiling sources since bace Beas, for over ten years, and my source material I've used for my research for pirates has been through early modern newspapers and so many of the thousands of them have been digitized through various sources. Um, if any of you are in College University, check out the library databases and if you see something like the Bernie collection of newspapers, those are British newspapers from my time period and the early American newspaper series again is also American newspapers from my time period and I have spent months going through those. So those are great resource on British history. Online there is the calendar of state papers and these are basically, Um, like letters written back and forth between officials, um the and in the colonial series you have like all the officials kind of writing to each other back and forth from the call in these and there are lots of complaints about piracy and so those have been very good sources. Trial transcripts are great sources because that's where people go into detail about what pirates were doing, what crimes they were committing, how pirates were seen in the eyes of the law. And then also, Um, let's see, High Court of Admiralty Papers. That High Court of Admiralty was the legal institution in charge of all things maritime, and so those have loads of resources. So I did my doctor in the UK and so a lot of those sources, Um, I would look at in the National Archives out in west London and I also spent the majority of my time in the British library in central London because they've got loads of manuscripts and they've got loads of old printed books from the seventeenth and eighteenth century, so I look at a lot of those. In terms of secondary sources, you know, I read pretty much every single thing I can about pirates, of course, but not just that. I read a lot about maritime law because so much about piracy very much is law related. But that was also kind of one of my focuses. I read about colonial history in the America's the Caribbean Africa. I read about the slave trade and early modern Britain and society, and I had to go into a lot of enlightenment ideas because my doctor was about public executions and pirates and society. Um, I've looked at lots of like kind of renaissance ideas, the idea of like the social contract and Um, how ideas of humanity in terms of prisons were changing, which men had to look at Fuco a bit. But basically kind of the way I compiled these sources is I have a very meticulous kind of documenting system where basically I have different folders labeled on my desktop and Um, I keep them all listened in spreadsheet as well, so that way I can kind of refer to them and I basically I've always saved absolutely everything because I'm like, even if it doesn't feel relevant now, it could be relevant later, and this was a massive help, especially during the pandemic as I wrote this book and wasn't able to get to libraries and archives, I was able to kind of back and look at everything I took from these early American newspapers because, basically this every time I saw the word pirate, I would transcribe that article, no matter what it said. So I had all of this available to me and then also really great other library sources would have lots of images and maps and that sort of stuff and relating to pirates. Um. If you want to see some for free online the John Carter Brown Library Um image database, just type in pirate. There's loads of great images and a lot of those, Um were put into my book because they're open access as well. So yeah, images, trial transcripts, early modern newspapers, books, other printings. Um. Yeah, pirates themselves didn't leave records. So basically everything I do has to kind of be pirate adjacent, as I call it, and from there you kind of have to sort of fill in the gaps. I do have a another interesting question here on the on the suburb. So I see one here that mentions France. Um. The mention of France is a central point as well as Answerdam. Is it due to the historical belief of France being more of like the city of love and that kind of thing, or is that more of a recent thing, like more of those more of the UH, like lgbt community, making their way there? Um. What spawned that? That's the idea of Paris being the city of love is more of like a nineteenth century concept, and this Um kind of came about sort of in the later nineteenth century when you had all these major, major writers who became famous at the turn of the twentieth century, like Fitzgerald and M Gertrude Stein. Or is a gricherd sign of someone else? Sorry, Um, but like all these writers around that time period would congregate together, and that's kind of where Paris sort of became to be seen as like the city of love. It became very, very, very romanticized, and a lot of this kind of goes back to the Middle Ages, because when King Louis, the third or fourth one of those two, he became the very first king in Europe...

...actually stay home in his home country, because he wanted France to be like the best as possible. And so it's around that time that France sort of starts to go through a bit of like a Carolingian Golden Age and it becomes like the Cultural Center of Europe, and it really much and it very much stays that way up until pretty much the reign of terror during the French Revolution um even during kind of a lot of the revolutionary era. And so I think because, like France is such like a cultural Um, like such a cultural center, then that meant Paris in particular, the capital, was very welcoming of all things kind of flamboyant, all things maybe kind of outlandish or kind of on the fringe, because, you know, people wanted people would go to France. You know for centuries, even before the nineteenth century, people would go to France wanting to be different and really kind of engaging in this in every way possible, and it was a place also for people to be a bit freer. There was stuff that was a bit more accepted there that wasn't quite as accepted in other parts of Europe, such as there was like a very distinctive like prost tuition culture that was a bit more liberated than other places in Europe. So, because of kind of these ideas that have gone through centuries, Frances kind of has always was always, kind of sort of known like that's the place you go if you're kind of different, if you don't really fit in anywhere, you go to. You go to Paris. Now that's honestly really cool because implying that, uh, you know a place as cultural meaning and that kind of meaning entirely because it's a place where you go if you don't necessarily fit in. That's super cool. M One other question that I ended up seeing is the question is kind of like because of history being very like lgbt, you're removed to like washed out Um, and they raced. Do you feel like that's at least partially because of gay people not being able to build up generational wealth and whatnot and becoming part of like part of that like capitalists, like overhead, or or part of the government kind of thing? I think yes and no. So, Um, there's this phrase that you know, history is told by the winners, and in a way a lot of times this is unfortunately true because, um, so much documentation really does come from legal sources and the monarchies and that sort of thing. And so that's known as top down history and there's been a big movement over the past few decades of looking at what's called bottom up history, where you're looking at history through the marginalized people, you know, the people that really kind of make society Um and now in terms so um, there probably were some queer people, particularly queer men, who would have had a harder time making a living and it's very possible that if they couldn't make a living, they would try to find ways to do so. And so a lot of there were a lot of queer men who would traditionally join monasteries or joined the church, and part of it was because, you know, if a queer man didn't want to marry, it wouldn't look weird because he was kind of a member of the church. And I don't I can't think of any documented evidence, but I do know that there were lots of instances, of course, queer relationships within the church and of course, you know, we see that in many ways today and a lot of it and very unfortunate circumstances, to put it lightly. But that's again, that's a whole other topic conversation. But there are also people from very high up in society who, Um, of course, of Queer men, very, very, very high up in society. Um, there were some kings, I can't remember which ones off top of my head, that I think were rumored to have possibly been gay. And there were also, of course, like counts and Dukes and earls and you know, they would marry and they would make they would marry and they would have children and you know, a lot of times in many, many relationships, especially within the upper class, once you had children, you know, you no longer were expected to have sex with each other anymore and a lot of those marriages are very much contractual and not out of love. In fact, marriage for love is actually quite a new concept. So there were some queer people who were from the higher ups of society, but they would just have to very much keep their lifestyle hidden because again, it was illegal. But if they were very high up, then people probably just look away, you know, pretend not to see. If you were not from the upper class society and you are from more working class, if you were caught engaging in same same sex activity, you could be thrown in prison. You could be executed or you could be transported and put into into into Um forced labor or penal colonies during the sixteen and seventeen hundreds. So it kind of really depends on what your social station was. But you know, just like today, the wealthiest had the most privilege because of their status. Awesome. And I have one probably shortest shorter question that I really liked and felt was a good one. Do you know if and Bonnie and Mary, where you were the earliest known queer pirates, Um, or...

...earliest known Lesbian Queer Warts? That isn't that. I don't know, Um, in terms of they were the first Um Queer pirates, and it's also quite likely that they actually weren't queer as well. Um, because of various reasons, they were both married, they're both pregnant while they were pirates. Um, and the idea that they may have actually been lovers. It's kind of a twentieth century idea based on kind of reinterpretations of older evidence. But in terms of queer pirates in general, you know, when we're the first ones again, Um, I don't know, and that's because of the lack of documentation. But the way I put it is that all throughout history the amount of queer relationships, queer people in any sort of profession, situation, etcetera, etcetera, would be about the same percentage as your current workplace today. So, Um, they definitely were not the first, but I think they were one of the first that people really began looking at in terms of, you know, were they Um Queer, were they in this relationship? And so I think that they are the ones where people looked at them most vocally, trying to Um, you know, discern their relationship with each other, because one thing I've I know I've always been unable to find and I don't even know how to speculate, is how the two of them actually met. I have no idea and I wish I could find out. So it's very possible that they could have had this relationship before they entered onto the ship and everything like that. It's just one of those things that's one of history's mysteries. Will never fully know. That's a that's a good point. I wonder if part of the reason why they're so well known as entirely because, Um, there are two women, because of a lot of the ways that women tend to get sexualized especially lesbian women. It's kind of interesting that their story is so much more interesting that than other queer pirates that we may or may not know of. Yeah, and if if they hadn't been women, they would have just kind of, you know, sort of fallen into the wayside, like so many other pirates who have put on trial, but because they were women, and not only that, but they were also pregnant, as it turned out, it was discovered at their trial. If it weren't for that, they probably, you know, we wouldn't know about them. But I think also one of the reasons why we know about them is because of Captain Charles Johnson's general history of the pirates, where he wrote really interesting biographies about them, which were largely completely made up, but they made for a very good story and they very much inspired other writings, such as UH paully and Moll Flanders, both of which featured women either in relationships with pirates or women who actually were on this, who were on the sea, and they very much also inspired female pirate characters kind of going well into the twentieth century. You know, Gina Davis's character and cut throat island, you know, and and Bonnie was one of the main characters on the show black sales, etcetera, etcetera. You know, Kiera Knightley is supposed to be based off of Antbonnie and Mary Reid Zoe's Al Donna, was also in the part to the Caribbean films as a woman in disguise on the ship, and so they very much kind of inspired people and I do believe that it is because of a general history of the pirates that they were used as marketing, because that was seen as just so social deviant. Socially deviant Um born for that book. I think people might just not have paid much attension in general before. It's like super cool. We highly recommend everyone go and listen to the the episode Um, and then, if you're really, really curious, like highly highly recommend listening to our first U episode with with Rebecca that came out in twenty nineteen. The first episode kind of covers a more general history of like queerness and pirates, and then obviously this episode focuses far more on Uh specifically and Bonnie and Mary read. Um. Before we end today, Rebecca, do you want to let people know where they can follow you? Um, maybe anything you're working on right now and where they can buy your book pirate Quins. Yeah, absolutely. So, Um, you can find me. Um. So, first off, if you have, if people have questions about, Um, female pirates or anything like this that you couldn't ask, I will actually be doing an a m a on ask historians on Monday. So, Um. So that so you can post up your questions there. The Post will go up on Monday morning early and I'll answer. I'll be answering questions. Um. But you can also find me in a few places. So I'm active on twitter and my handle on twitter is Um BECCALEX, which is B E C K a l e x, so different than my reddit handle. Um. And then I'm also active on Tiktok and my Um name on tiktok is pirate becalex. So all one word, pirate, B E C K A l e X. I think like Beck the musician and Alex kind of combined into one word. and Um, I do daily pirate facts, um and videos on there. Um. I'm also on Instagram,...

...which is a bit more personal but it's still a public account, and I post up news on there sometimes in my stories, and it's the same handle as my Tiktok candle. Um, I also have a website, Rebecca Dash Simon dot com, which has lots of my writings and information. So you can find my book, Pirate Queen's on Amazon, indie bound. It's available. It's hard back and on kindle. There will be an audio book coming out in a few months. Um, I read the book for the Audio Book and now their team just has to kind of their tech team has to sort of put it all together. So that will be coming out in a few months, the audiobook. and Um, I am currently one of the featured historians on a spotify podcast called real pirates, which is a series about pirates. So really go listen to that. They've been doing a really great job. I really enjoy working on that. and Um, currently I've just finished a third book which is about the pirate code and it's about life on the pirate ship and I do go into and one of the chapters, uh, one chapter is devoted to relationships on the pirate ship. So I do talk a lot about that. will be coming out in and it's called the pirate code. And go on my website you'll see like I published loads of articles online and I've been on loads different podcasts, you know, including of course Levi's, and then I've also been on history, hit, you're dead to me, history extra Um and many others, and they're all on my website and also, like my twitter, my instagram and my Tiktok are also linked on my website as well. Thank you so so much for taking the time to record with us on the podcast and also, yes, thank you so much, Rebecca. You're welcome. This has been really fun. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you everyone for joining us today. Yeah, absolutely.

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