Given a 21st-century lens, many assumptions and assertions made over a century ago can easily be misconstrued. One article, based on findings to be published in a book by Martin Pugh, nearly glamourizes the so-called lesbian trysts of the British suffragettes, notably Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters. Meanwhile, a counter-argument suggests that such titles are merely sensationalizing and catering to a click-bait audience, and that friendships between women in the Edwardian era were referred to differently than today. Even the phrase “sleeping with” another person was taken much more literally rather than inferring a sexual relationship.

Although some famous feminists (Christabel Pankhurst and Dame Ethel Smyth, I’m looking at you) were very ‘out’ about their sexuality, and the sexual repression of the Victorian era was somewhat relaxing by the 1910s, it was still considerably taboo to discuss female sexuality, let alone same-sex attraction. Perhaps we will never truly know the exact parameters of the relationships of these women in their utmost intimacy.

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