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British Museum adds five LGBT artefacts to its permanent collections

(Tim Ireland/PA)
(Tim Ireland/PA)

The British Museum has added five LGBT artefacts to its permanent display as part of an effort to improve the diversity of its collections.

A “nine-bob note”, which was made for use in a nightclub event in 2008 titled Gay Shame Goes Macho, is set to go on show.

The note features and image of London gangster Ronnie Kray instead of the Queen and is a play on the expression “as queer as a nine-bob note”.

(British Museum/PA)

A bronze medal of Chevalier d’Eon – a celebrated soldier, diplomat and spy who lived openly as a man and a woman at different stages of life – is also going on display.

The medal was issued in 1777 to the soldier, who lived in France and England.

A first century terracotta Roman lamp from Turkey, which depicts two women engaged in oral sex and would have generally been regarded as taboo at the time, is also going on show.

Japanese prints from between the years 1600 and 1900 depicting androgynous young men who were desired by both genders will also be displayed in the London museum.

The prints depict androgynous figures (British Museum/PA)

Stuart Frost, head of interpretation and volunteers at the British Museum, said: “We’re really pleased to be putting these five objects on permanent display as part of our ongoing efforts to better represent the full range of stories and identities that can be found in LGBTQ+ history.

“They join a number of other objects on permanent display that collectively demonstrate that same-sex love, desire and gender diversity have always been an integral part of the human experience.”

The museum is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Saunders, head of learning and national partnerships at the British Museum, said: “We’re really looking forward to reopening as soon as it is safe to do so, and restarting our hugely popular LGBT tours.”

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