Words by Jessica Peace

After illustrating Don Quixote, Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe, 19th century cartoonist J. J. Grandville sexed up the pansy (‘Pensée’) in his illustration of the buxom flower nymph in his final satirical work, ‘Les fleurs animées’, 1830.

‘Obscene means today that the policeman thinks he has the right to arrest you, nothing else...’ Lady Chatterley author D. H. Lawrence was used to his ‘filthy’ pages being banned but when his poetry collection, ‘Pansies’ (1929) was snatched by the Old Bill one publisher revolted.  P. R. Stephensen fought the power and allowed uncensored copies to go out to 500 subscribers.

In 2005 Artist Paul Harfleet created ‘The Pansy Project’, planting pansies at the sites of homophobic abuse. This year his graphic novel, ‘Pansy Boy’ was published; written for his 7 year old self, the novel tracks the young boy’s burgeoning sexuality.

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