Uncovering Colonial Williamsburg’s LGBTQ history

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11/24/2019

Aubrey Moog-Ayers was outside of an apothecary shop a few years ago, working as an orientation interpreter at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, when two men pulled her aside. The men, who said they were partners, asked her questions that stayed with her years later: What did she know about queer people in 18th-century America? Did anyone ever cross dress? Moog-Ayers, who identifies as queer, told them about her own research — about gathering places for gay men in 18th-century England, known as “molly houses,” and about a Virginia colonist who dressed as a man and as a woman. But stories about what today would be considered the LGBTQ community never have been a formal part of the programming at Colonial Williamsburg. For the past four years, Moog-Ayers has been encouraging the living-history museum to fill this void.

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