Can You Name These Historic Lesbian Couples and Other Gal Pals Through the Years?

Contrary to popular belief, lesbians weren’t invented in the 70’s and appear to have existed all through recorded history. Of course, as many male historians like to point out, it is hard to be certain whether any given historic couple were actually a couple or just really good friends what with all the terrible legal and social consequences facing them if they got caught. So here’s a quiz that might be about lesbians through history or might just be about ladies who were very close to their platonic best friends.

Historical Gal Pals Trivia

Let me know your score in the comments! And your favorite historical gal pals!

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Siobhan has degrees in information management and medieval history making her lots of fun at parties. She's written for Dirge, Biscuit and Diva and is currently working on a book on the supernatural women of Ireland for Wolfenhowle Press (and if you want to help feed her while she works on it you can check out her patreon here.

Siobhan has written 34 articles for us.


  1. Hah. Worst score yet. Fascinating history.

    Nice work!
    Quiz Grade: E
    Score: 7
    Percentage: 44%

  2. Quiz Grade: B
    Score: 14
    Percentage: 88%

    Probably I should have got more!

    My fave historical gal pals are a poly-way tie between:
    – Hortense Mancini/Sidonie de Courcelles when they broke out of their Parisian convent
    – Julie d’Aubigny when she broke her blonde girlfriend out of another French convent with flaming dead nuns as a distraction
    – Mary Read and Anne Bonny when they escaped hanging by pretending to be pregnant, aka fooling men who are squeamish about cis female reproductive things
    – the ladies of Llangollen for fleeing the patriarchy dressed as men and holding a small dog

    Basically I have a thing for queer historical prison break tropes

    • I love the pranks Hortense and Sidonie pulled in the convent, as well as that time when Hortense’s sister, Marie, helped her escaped (another) convent by distracting their aunt the vicaress with her children, which angered the old lady so much that she died shortly after.

  3. Nice work!
    Quiz Grade: A
    Score: 16
    Percentage: 100%

    This is entirely due to me passionately clicking through on links to every gal pal I didn’t recognise and when I came back finding the quiz reset.

    Siobhan this may be the best lunch break I’ve ever spent, and I’m fairly certain I should be thanking you for my dreams tonight.

    Also I am now entertaining thoughts of a burlesque fencing duo as an act…

  4. Okay I thought that “a page of love sent by Sappho” was an actual page, like a page from a book

  5. Gah, I did terrible! But now I wanna go read about all these ladies

    Quiz Grade: E
    Score: 7
    Percentage: 44%

  6. Nice work!
    Quiz Grade: E
    Score: 9
    Percentage: 56%

    There are many reasons to love this quiz – merely one of them is that it provides me the opportunity to mention the paper I wrote in college about sex and sexuality among pirates in the Golden Age of piracy (one of my favorite sources was a book titled “Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash”). You can bet a fair bit of that paper was dedicated to discussing Anne Bonny and Mary Read!

    • I came back to this article years later in a fit of nostalgic boredom and now I must beg a copy of that paper because I am desperate to read it.

  7. Quiz Grade: A
    Score: 15
    Percentage: 94%

    Cool quiz! Spotted a minor error in the article: Hortense Mancini’s affair with the Countess of Sussex took place in the 1670s, not the 18th century.

  8. Nice work!
    Quiz Grade: E
    Score: 8
    Percentage: 50%

    Not very good ! I must have been asleep during my Rad Lesbian Women’s Studies course at university. Oh, wait…

  9. Quiz Grade: A
    Score: 15
    Percentage: 94%

    Woohoo! But then again, I cheated because I host a queer history podcast :)

    (PS if you wanna hear more about some of these badass ladies like Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Hildegard of Bingen and more, you should check us out. We’re History is Gay!)

    • This is a perfect convergence of THREE of my passions, I am going to mosey on over to your podcast asap! I think I only did so well (I thought) getting 63% because I’ve listened to so many episodes of stuff you missed in history class, which is great although (like almost everything), could be gayer.

  10. Wow, I did not do well. At least I have some links to follow up on for the rest of the day. :)

    Nice work!
    Quiz Grade: E
    Score: 5
    Percentage: 31

  11. Question 2 is inaccurate. Anne Lister and Ann Walker “married” in 1834, not 1844; Anne Lister died in 1840.

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