The term lesbian was not coined until 50 years after Anne Lister's death in 1840, but the masculine girl from Yorkshire, England, was well aware of her sexuality from an early age. And as an adult, she lived in a surprisingly modern same-sex relationship.
Early on, Anne decided being different was not wrong or bad or a reason to change. At 13, she began her first relationship with her boarding-school roommate. Though she documented desires for a lifelong partnership in her diary, the relationship, like most first romances, did not last. Armed with the knowledge of "how to please a woman," she went on to have a series of relationships with women, which she always documented in code, marking her many orgasms with an X.
After her death at 49, her unusually understanding family hid her prolific diaries in a wall where they remained for over a century. They were found by chance during construction, and a local historian spent years uncoding the nearly four million words. Now the BBC is creating a costume drama out of it. Considering I can hang with any period piece, I can only hope this makes it to BBC America!
Source: Flickr User Camil Tulcan