Amber Whittington, Meghan Tonjes, Jazzmyne Robbins and Stevie Boebi Read Anne Lister’s Diaries For You

This post is sponsored by HBO and Gentleman Jack.

If you’re anything like me and every other lesbian on Twitter, you’ve been watching Gentleman Jack and swooning every time Anne Lister breaks the fourth wall or takes her butch swagger anywhere. Also, you were probably bummed not to be able to attend our “Queer to Queer” live comedy read of Anne Lister’s diaries in Los Angeles last month. Well, boi do I have good news for you: We’re teaming up with HBO to bring some of Anne Lister’s most relatable, erotic, bizarre diary entries straight your door — er, Instagram — from the mouths of some of your favorite queer celebs.

Want to hear actress/activist/YouTube star Amber Whittington explain what Anne Lister meant by dawdling? Or body-positive vlogger and musician Meghan Tonjes announce Anne’s feelings on dildos? Or fashion model Jazzmyne Robbins recite Anne’s intentions to press her queer to another woman’s queer? Or YouTuber, producer, and actor Stevie Boebi recite Anne’s feelings on pubic hair lockets? I’m not sure if that’s exactly what they’ll be reading about, but I do know Anne Lister wrote extensively about all of those things — and oh so much more! — so there’s plenty of lesbian drama to choose from!

In fact, allow me to share five of my personal favorite Anne Lister musings to warm you up.

A youthful attempt at poetry from 1806

Thy needle, distaff, puddings, and thy pies
Thy much liked cheesecakes and thy curds despise
But fondle thee I must and will
Thou art best loved by me,
For tho’ my heart thou wound’st still
No friend have I but thee.

A pre-Instagram deep-scroll from 1819

“Set off down the old bank a little before 4… and walked down a little lane toward the west, about an hour. What led me there was to have a view of Mr. Browne’s house & to see if I should be able to distinguish Miss Browne walking through the garden. I could do it very well with a telescope and I thought of getting one.”

A misandrist mail reckoning from 1821

Burnt Mr Montagu’s farewell verses — burnt! — that no trace of any man’s admiration may remain. It is not meant for me. I love and only love the fairer sex and thus, beloved by them in turn, my heart revolts from any other love than theirs.

A lustful rumination from 1824

We drew close together, made love & had one of the most delightfully long, tender kisses we have ever had. Two last night. M– spoke in the very act. ‘Ah,’ said she, ‘Can you ever love anyone else?’ She knows how to heighten the pleasure of our intercourse. She often murmurs, ‘Oh, how delicious,’ just at the very moment. All her kisses are good ones.

A deathful pondering from 1826

Asked Mariana how long she thought it might be before we got together, & she seemed to fight off answering, on pressing further she said she felt some delicacy on this subject & did not like to talk openly of it even to ourselves, for, tho’ she did not love [her husband], yet kindness & obligation made her feel a wish to avoid calculating the time of his death. She seemed as fond of me as ever, yet all the night when I was almost convulsed with smothering my sobs, she took no notice, nor was affected at all apparently.

Make sure you’re following us on Instagram! The first video drops today!

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

Heather Hogan

Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Heather has written 1718 articles for us.


  1. I haven’t found a way to watch this show yet (been very busy binging Harlots now that I have Hulu) but the content here is a gift. And I don’t know how reading these diary excerpts is how I first learned how the word queer was used then? As a historically minded queer language lover I am shocked with myself and pleased to have this remedied.

Comments are closed.