Kit Heyam is a writer, a university lecturer, a queer history activist and a trans awareness trainer who has worked with organisations across the UK. They have been committed to queer history since their teens, when they found the sense of community they were lacking by identifying with queer figures from the past. Their first book, The Reputation of Edward II, 1305-1697: A Literary Transformation of History (Amsterdam University Press, 2020), was the first account of how fourteenth-century English king Edward II acquired his queer reputation. They have also published work on gender in museums, trans possibilities in First World War internment camps and naked pictures in early modern anatomy books, and they have appeared as a guest expert on queer history on BBC2, Radio New Zealand and local BBC radio.
Kit is passionate about finding ways to tell new stories about gender and sexuality in the past and has worked with museums including the V&A, Henry Moore Institute and British Library exhibitions team to help develop their trans representation. They coordinate the cardboard #RainbowPlaques project, which makes hidden queer history visible, and lead queer history tours in their home city of Leeds based on the app they developed for Heritage Lottery Funded project West Yorkshire Queer Stories. They are also a volunteer organiser of the award-winning Leeds Queer Film Festival.
Kit’s latest book, BEFORE WE WERE TRANS (Basic Books) was published in June 2022.