Personalities

Welcome to the Personalities Dateline. You have twenty seven stories to choose from. You can read about the diversity and achievements of people important to the LGBT+ community today. In the stories are pioneers who campaigned to establish rights for LGBT+ people. Others changed attitudes by living open and proud lives. There are people who have given us songs, stories and drama to inspire us. Others provide us with opportunities to celebrate our achievements. Check out the links some of them have to the Legal Dateline.

The choice of stories was a very considered one by the wallchart project team. Time has passed since the choice was made. Choices were made based on a specific contributions at a particular time and do not reflect a broad appreciation of everything a person may have made across their lifetime.. You will surely think of others to include in a dateline of your own.

The relationships of the people chosen here are important. Stories of people with these intimate sexual and/or emotional relationships have often been neglected or even deliberately erased. Their lives and loves were characterised as ‘wrong’. Sharing our stories is vital. The stories here help challenge fixed and stereotyped identities. We see that lives in the past could be vibrant and happy.

Some of the people chosen are now well known but others are less so. Some are connected to the labour movement and organised activism. Their stories make oppression and resistance more visible. Some are influential voices, inspiring others to take action. Many stories recognise and value the importance of working together with allies. 

Each story explains an important event. It can be anything from a trial, to a new job or a medical intervention. The stories are not detailed biographies, though a few other events are included. Some aspects of a person’s background and heritage are included to highlight the diversity of the group. Sometimes their age is highlighted to show that people can help make change happen throughout their lives.

We should thank those who continue to uncover and keep our stories alive.

‘[gay] ‘history’ is not a luxury for arty types, not just a vague feeling that we queer folk have been around a long time. It is crucial advice, passed from one generation to the next. Scrabbling around in libraries for glimpses of our history and literary heritage is just as important as the more obvious kinds of activism. Knowing our past brings confidence, wisdom and ability to laugh at our enemies and ourselves.’

Emma Donoghue 
Irish Writer

Personalities

1871

Fanny and Stella

Fanny and Stella

Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton Law student, bank clerk, theatrical performers 1871 Criminal prosecution   Fanny (Fredrick Park) and Stella (Ernest Boulton) were arrested on 28th April 1870 at the Strand theatre and taken to Bow Street police station, London. Stella wore a red silk evening dress. Fanny wore a..Read more

1906

Edward Carpenter

Edward Carpenter

Socialist Poet Philosopher 1906 Publishes ‘Loves Coming of Age’ ‘Eros is a great leveller’ Edward Carpenter   Edward Carpenter left behind his middle class upbringing and career in the church in his late 30s. He went to live in a working class community outside Sheffield. There he became interested in..Read more

1911

Ethel Smyth

Ethel Smyth

Composer and member of the suffrage movement 1911 Composed ‘The March of the Women’ ‘Because I have conducted my own operas and love sheep-dogs; because I generally dress in tweeds; …because I have written books, spoken speeches, broadcast, and don’t always make sure that my hat is on straight; for..Read more

1928

Radclyffe Hall

Radclyffe Hall

Poet and author 1928 Publishes ‘The Well of Loneliness’ ‘You’re neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; you’re as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else’ Radclyffe Hall Marguerite Radclyffe Hall was an English poet and novelist, and is one of the most famous figures in lesbian..Read more

1952

Alan Turing

Alan Turing

Mathematician and computer scientist 1952 Chemically castrated ‘No doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I’ve not found out.’ Alan Turing Many people call Alan Turing the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence (AI). He created new ways of thinking about computers,..Read more

1960

Lionel Blue

Lionel Blue

Reform Rabbi, journalist and broadcaster 1980 First British Rabbi publicly to ‘affirm his homosexual orientation’ ‘I am pleased now that I have lived in a gay as well as a religious ghetto, though it hasn’t been very comfortable. Taken together, their limitations cancel each other out and I have seen..Read more

1970

Ted Brown

Ted Brown

LGBT activist and trade unionist 1970 Member of the Gay Liberation Front ‘Racism and homophobia rely upon spreading vicious lies about, seriously denigrating and removing the rights of their victims.’ Ted Brown Ted Brown is a Black gay activist and trade unionist. He was effective in raising Black lesbian and..Read more

1972

Jan Morris

Jan Morris

Historian and author  1972  Travels abroad for gender reassignment surgery ‘What was important was the liberty of us all to live as we wished to live, to love however we wanted to love, and to know ourselves, however peculiar, disconcerting or unclassifiable, at one with the gods and angels.’ Jan..Read more

1981

Jeffrey Dudgeon

Jeffrey Dudgeon

Gay activist, historian and politician Belfast Dudgeon v the United Kingdom ‘As long as I can help, I will continue telling my story in this city because there is always going to be stuff to fight against.”   Jeffrey Dudgeon Jeffrey “Jeff” Dudgeon is a Northern Irish politician, historian and gay..Read more

1983

Peter Tatchell

Peter Tatchell

LGBT+ activist 1983 Fights Bermondsey By-election “Don’t accept the world as it is. Dream about what the world could be – then help us make it happen.’ Peter Tatchell Peter Tatchell is a British human rights campaigner, originally from Australia. Tatchell moved to London in 1971. He was a leading..Read more

1984

Chris Smith

Chris Smith

Politician 1984 First out gay and HIV positive MP ‘Good afternoon, I’m Chris Smith, I’m the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury and I’m gay.’ Christopher Smith, Baron Smith of Finsbury is a British politician and a peer. He began his political career as a Labour Councillor for Islington..Read more

Jimmy Somerville

Jimmy Somerville

Singer 1984 ‘Pits and Perverts’ benefit concert’ ‘Run away, turn away, run away, turn away, run away Cry boy, cry …’ Smalltown Boy Jimmy Somerville James ‘Jimmy’ Somerville is a Scottish pop singer and songwriter. He was brought up in a tough area of Glasgow. He faced homophobia at work...Read more

1986

Linda Bellos

Linda Bellos

LGBT+ activist, equality trainer and consultant 1986 Leader of Lambeth Council ‘It’s not enough to protest, one needed to be involved in a political party to change it.’ Linda Bellos Linda Bellos is an equality trainer, consultant and LGBT+ activist. She is of African and Eastern European Jewish heritage. Her..Read more

1987

Labi Siffre

Labi Siffre

Poet, singer and songwriter 1987 (Something Inside) So Strong ‘My songs are love songs, but love songs for my fellow man’.   Labi Siffre Claudius Afolabi “Labi” Siffre is a British poet, songwriter, musician and singer. He was the fourth of five children born to a British mother of Barbadian-Belgian descent..Read more

1989

Lisa Power

Lisa Power

1989 Founder member Stonewall Learn a little, live a lot more. Challenge ignorance where you find it.  Lisa Power Lisa Power is a sexual health and LGBT rights campaigner. She came out at university in Lancaster in the 1970s. She was demonstrating against the sacking by of a gay man..Read more

Kath Gillespie-Sells

Kath Gillespie-Sells

1989 Founder Regard ‘The most important thing I have done is get them [disabled and LGBT people] to move out of their own comfort zone and look at the other issues…’ Kath Gillespie Sells Katherine ‘Kath’ Gillespie Sells is a psychotherapist, writer, disability rights campaigner and LGBT+ rights campaigner. Sells..Read more

1992

Stephen Whittle

Stephen Whittle

1992 Co-founder Press for Change ‘…in order to hear the voices of trans people, as justice demands, one has to acknowledge the limits of sex and gender and move into a new world in which any identity can be imagined, performed, and named.’ Stephen Whittle Stephen Whittle is a British..Read more

1995

Christine Burns

Christine Burns

Trans rights activist and campaigner 1995 Parliamentary Forum on Transsexualism ‘For most it’s been a profoundly personal thing – not something to shout about, but a piece of paper to hold, to have a little cry, and feel closure at last.’ Christine Burns talking about gender recognition and marriage after..Read more

1997

Angela Eagle

Angela Eagle

Politician 1997 First lesbian MP to come out ‘If we are to make equality a reality for all LGBT people we have to know and remember the history of discrimination and the struggle to overcome it’ Angela Eagle Angela Eagle is a British Labour Party Politician. Eagle was born in..Read more

1998

Waheed Alli

Waheed Alli

Media entrepreneur and politician 1998 Youngest and first out gay peer ‘I have never been confused about my sexuality. I have been confused about the way I am treated as a result of it.’   Waheed Alli Waheed Alli, Baron Alli is a media entrepreneur and life peer. His parents are..Read more

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay Poet, novelist and academic 1998 Publishes ‘Trumpet’   ‘You would never dream of asking a heterosexual writer how being heterosexual affected their writing, yet it’s often asked of a lesbian writer.’   Jackie Kay     Jackie Kay is a Scottish poet and novelist. She became the Scots Makar..Read more

1999

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies

Television producer and screen writer1999Queer as Folk broadcast “Living as a gay man is a political act’   Russell T Davies Welshman Russell T Davies is a gay screenwriting icon. In 1998 he wrote a drama series for UK TV Channel 4. It was about a group of friends in Manchester’s gay..Read more

Barbara Burford

Barbara Burford

Writer, medical researcher and diversity activist  1999  Director of Equality, Department of Health And we are mistresses of strong, wild air, leapers and sounders of depths and barriers. Barbara Burford from ‘Women Talking’, 1984 Barbara Burford was a writer and medical researcher. She was a lifelong diversity activist. She came..Read more

2005

Sue Sanders

Sue Sanders

Educator, activist and co-founder of LGBTHM 2005 First UK LGBT History Month ‘It is vital that the diversity of the LGBT community is visible and safe especially in schools’ Sue Sanders Sue is an LGBT+ activist and educationalist. Her work has focussed on women’s issues, lesbian politics, human rights and..Read more

2006

Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah

Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah

Trade unionist and founder of UK Black Pride 2006 First UK Black Pride ‘Our aim is to foster, present and celebrate Black LGBT culture.’ Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah Phyllis Opoku-Gyimah also known as ‘Lady Phyll’ is a co-founder, trustee and executive director of UK Black Pride. She is a lesbian woman of..Read more

2012

Nicola Adams

Nicola Adams

Sportswoman 2012 First woman to win Olympic boxing title ‘I went into boxing and I’m bisexual and I still achieved and performed at the highest level and I came away with gold and made history so with that said, anything is possible.’ Nicola Adams Nicola Adams is a British professional boxer...Read more

2013

Tom Daley

Tom Daley

Sportsman 2013 Announces relationship with a man ‘Overwhelmed by all the support! Means the world! Thanks so much guys ❤️❤️❤️’ Tom Daly Thomas ‘Tom’ Daley is a British diver. He was successful in national and international competitions from the age of nine. He won a world title when he was only..Read more

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