February marks LGBTQ+ History month, a month where we celebrate the legacy left before us which gave us the means to live as we please today. 

Many of these historical characters who truly advocated for gay rights may be long gone but their achievements have not been forgotten. 

To celebrate, we took to our social media this month to educate our followers by sharing a little bit about these incredible people.

Sylvia Rivera (1951-2002)
“We have to be visible. We should not be ashamed of who we are.”

A Latina-American Gay liberation and transgender rights activist, Rivera was the co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front and was also known for participating in the Stonewall Riots of 1969. 

Together with her close friend Marsha P. Johnson, Rivera co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries), a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens, LGBTQ+ and trans women.

Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992)
“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”

An African-American transgender woman, Marsha was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising in 1969. She was also one of the first drag queens to go to the Stonewall Inn after they began allowing women and drag queens inside.

Following the Stonewall uprising, Johnson joined the Gay Liberation Front.

On June 28th, 1970, Johnson marched in the first Gay Pride rally, then known as the Christopher Street Liberation Day.

Alan Turing (1912-1954)
“Those who can imagine anything, can create the impossible.”

An English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist, Turing was influential in the development of computer science which played a significant role in the creation of the modern computer. 

During the Second World War, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. He devised several techniques for breaking German cyphers and played a pivotal role in cracking intercepted coded messages, enabling the Allies to defeat the Nazis helping win World War Two.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825 – 1895)
“I am proud, that I found the courage to deal the initial blow to the hydra of public contempt.”

A civil servant in Germany until he was forced to resign in 1854 on account of his homosexuality. Ulrichs is known as one of the first gay men to publicly announce his sexuality and speak out for homosexual rights.

He became an activist and published 12 volumes of work about sexuality, some of which asserting non-heterosexual orientations are natural and biological.

Michael Dillon (1915 – 1962)
“Where the mind cannot be made to fit the body, the body should be made to fit, approximately at any rate, to the mind.”

A British physician and the first female-to-male transsexual to undergo phalloplasty.

In 1946 Dillon published Self: A Study in Endocrinology and Ethics, a book which would now be called “transsexuality”, a term not yet defined back then. Dillon’s book remains leading edge in its patient-centred approach to trans medicine.

Later in life, after being outed by the media and unable to work, Dillon headed to India, where he became a monk and spent his life studying Buddhism and writing. 

Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992)
“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

An American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. She was a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and dedicated her life and talent to confronting injustices of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and homophobia.

These are just some of the incredible people we called out, but you can see the full list on our Instagram here.

We have also donated to the following charities whilst writing this post:

And with your help, we continue to donate regularly to Stonewall by matching your kind “round up” donations at checkout. This is part of our ‘Be Dem Good‘ initiative.

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