Masc Lesbian

Fran lives in Peterborough with her partner Lucy but originally comes from Felixstowe, Suffolk and works as a Senior Care Assistant. 

Fran has many varied hobbies that include football, the art form of drag and is both a fan and collector of tattoos.

What does Identity mean to you?

As a Masc (masculine) presenting lesbian, my identity to me means being seen, being visible and being a role model to those who are maybe not entirely comfortable with how they present themselves. I am proud to identify as a lesbian and represent the Masc community. 

A Misdemeanour in Wisbech

In the early 1800s Wisbech was booming. It had three theatres, a literary society and was a thriving port that traded with all of Europe. The town hall was built and the castle was rebuilt the same year it was granted a town council, allowing for the paving and cleaning of the streets. The museum opened in 1835, the railroad in 1847 and gas lighting installed n 1832. 

Despite this economic and social progress, as in other places, attitudes toward sex and gender were hardening, with severe penalties applied for any transgressions. August 1845 saw a typical incident take place. Joshua Fowle, aged 40, and Ishmael Pettit, aged 73, were apprehended by Police Constable Roughton while they were engaged in an "unnatural offence" (i.e., theft). The local media reported with disgust that an "ABOMINABLE CRIME" had occurred in a ditch by the side of Gaol Lane, where they were engaging in same-sex relations. They were brought before William Stevens Esquire, the Mayor of the area, for a trial. The Cambridge Independent sneered, "Of course, the evidence is completely unfit for publication." Fowle and Pettit were given a 18-month sentence of hard labour.

South Brink was the location of the 1807-built Wisbech prison. It wasn't very big and catered mostly to local prisoners. Plans were being made for a new jail on Gaol Lane (now known as Victoria Road) by 1846, after it was noted that the "bad construction and limited accommodation of the present dilapidated [sic] prison at Wisbech are very defective".

In the year before it was demolished, Mayor Stevens was presented with "another abominable offence.". William Lloyd, a 26-year-old labourer from Tewksbury who had moved to the town, was one of the prisoners who was charged with an "unnatural crime" (i.e. sodomy) with another prisoner known only as "Blanks", while being detained in the jail.

The trial was held inside the prison because there were no outside witnesses. It must have been noisy in the jail's dim, partially destroyed interior. No defence was offered to Lloyd. When the Mayor said that he was sorry to see such a crime so popular in the area, the people in the court burst into loud laughter during the disgusting details.

A death sentence was recorded with the guilty verdict.

Identities is the first major project by queer-based production company Q Productions based in Peterborough. Their main aim is to give Cambridgeshire and the Fens an educational and meaningful project about queer people. Q Productions is run by Trans woman Alex and Trans genderfluid Teddi. The project was funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund through Your Community Greenspace.