It’s LGBT+ History Month! This February the theme is 'Body, Mind, Spirit'.
The month-long celebration was first held in 2005 and is a celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBT+ rights and civil rights movements.
There are five influential faces for 2021. Each of these individuals has an incredible story which is shared below.
Lily Parr – Once hailed as "the most brilliant female player in the world", Lily Parr enjoyed huge success throughout her football career, playing against both male and female teams. During the First World War, when millions of young men had been sent to the front to fight, women’s football was used to boost morale, and teams played to raise large amounts of money for charities for disabled servicemen. Lily is celebrated an an LGBT+ icon because, as well as being a footballing hero, she refused to hide her lesbian relationship. Read Lily Parr's story here.
Mark Ashton was committed to gay liberation and socialism, forming LGSM – Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners – in 1984 during the Miners' Strike. This was later depicted in Stephen Beresford's award-winning movie 'Pride' (Pathé 2014). Read Mark Ashton's story here.
Maya Angelou – A civil rights activist, singer, composer, writer and poet. Maya Angelou embraced the LGBT+ community and on the fight for LGBT+ equality said, “I am aghast and appalled at any people who decide that another group should not have their rights. We are all each other’s people.” Read Maya Angelou's story here.
Michael Dillon – A champion rower with two degrees, and an ordained monk, Michael Dillon encapsulated mind, body and spirit. The second child of an Irish baronet, Dillon was assigned female at birth. After thirteen operations, under the leading plastic surgeon of the day, Sir Harold Gillies, Dillon had the body he wanted. Read Michael Dillon's story here.
Mark Weston – Plymouth native Mark Weston was a talented athlete, winning national titles at discus, javelin and shot put, and representing Britain at the Olympic Games. Assigned female at birth, Weston suspected that something was different. As he grew older his voice deepened and he started needing to shave. Weston said: “I always imagined I was a girl until 1928. Then, competing in the world championships at Prague Czechoslovakia, I began to realize that I was not normal and had no right to compete as a woman." Read Mark Weston’s story here.
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