LGBT History Month: Celebrating Notable Figures

Publish Date: 09/01/2013



Jeanette Winterson

Born in Manchester, Jeanette Winterson is one of the most visible lesbian writers in mainstream British culture. She wrote her first novel aged just 23. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit achieved remarkable success, winning the 1985 Whitbread Prize for a First Novel. Her subsequent novels explore gender polarities and gender identities, and have won several literary awards. She was made an OBE in 2006 for “services to literature”.


Alan Turing

Alan Turing was a British mathematician and computer scientist. He is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. In 1952, after a conviction for sexual offences with a man, he chose to undergo hormone treatment instead of prison. Two years later he died of cyanide poisoning and the coroner gave a verdict of suicide. In 2009 Gordon Brown issued an apology on behalf of the government. LGBT History Month 2013 is dedicated to maths, science and engineering in his honour.


Brenda Howard

The Stonewall Riots were a series of demonstrations in 1969 by members of the LGBT community against a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. In 1970, bisexual activist Brenda Howard coordinated the first LGBT Pride march to commemorate Stonewall. She also originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day. This became the annual LGBT Pride celebrations that are now held around the world every June. Brenda is known as the 'Mother of Pride'.


Roberta Cowell

Roberta Cowell was a racing driver, World War 2 fighter pilot and surviving prisoner of war. Born in 1918, she was the first known British trans woman to undergo gender confirmation surgery. Roberta left school at 16 to become an apprentice aircraft engineer, soon deciding to join the RAF. In 1936 she began studying engineering at University College London, and by 1939 she owned three racing cars and had competed in the Antwerp Grand Prix.


Written by Sali Owen, LGF Volunteer