Tag Archives: lesbian

LGBT History Month – Day 24 – Alison Bechdel

An artist of a different kind for day 24, Alison Bechdel (1960 – )

Alison Bechdel

Alison Bechdel is a lesbian American cartoonist. Originally best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she came to critical and commercial success in 2006 with her graphic memoir Fun Home. Bechdel’s sexuality and gender non-conformity are a large part of the core message of her work. “The secret subversive goal of my work is to show that women, not just lesbians, are regular human beings.”

Dykes to Watch Out For is the origin of the ‘Bechdel test,’ which has become a frequently used metric in cultural and gendered discussion in film studies. The test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The test is used as an indicator for the active presence of women in films and other fiction, and to call attention to gender inequality in fiction due to sexism.

Her work can be explored on the Dykes to Watch Out For website: http://dykestowatchoutfor.com/

LGBT History Month – Day 22 – Ellen DeGeneres

Welcome to Ellen DeGeneres (1958) for our Day 22.

ellen degeneres

Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer. She starred in the popular sitcom Ellen from 1994 to 1998, and has hosted her syndicated TV talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003.

In 1997, during the fourth season of Ellen in 1997 and whilst appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ellen came out publicly as a lesbian. Her Ellen character Ellen Morgan followed suit shortly afterwards while speaking to a therapist (played by Winfrey), and the series went on to explore various LGBT issues, including the coming-out process.

This made her the first openly lesbian actress to play an openly lesbian character on television, and attracted a great deal of press attention which she later said had caused her emotional difficulty and also negatively affected her career.

In 2008, Ellen married her long-time girlfriend Portia de Rossi, who legally petitioned for a change of name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres. California legislative changes initially made the status of the marriage uncertain, but it was later validated by the state Supreme Court, and Portia’s petition was accepted in September 2010.

As a film actress, amongst other credits, DeGeneres provided the voice of Dory in the Pixar animated film Finding Nemo (2003).

You can view the site for her show, here: http://www.ellentv.com/

LGBT History Month – Day 20 – Sandi Toksvig

Good evening, and welcome to QI

Oh. Sorry. We’re getting ahead of ourselves. But still, Sandi Toksvig (1958) is our inspiration for Day 20.

sandi toksvigSandi Toksvig OBE is a lesbian British-Danish writer, actor, comedian, presenter and producer on British radio and television, and a political activist. She is a keen advocate for women’s rights and equality.

She began performing in theatre and comedy with the Cambridge Footlights and was a member of the Comedy Store Players. In 1982 she made her first TV appearance working on children’s programming, and has since appeared in many factual programmes, sitcoms and talk shows. She has been a regular guest and host on panel shows including QI and Mock The Week, and between 2006 and 2015 she was a regular presence on BBC Radio 4 as host of The News Quiz, before leaving to serve as co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party. She is also a writer for television and theatre and the author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books. She is the current Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.

Toksvig was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to broadcasting. She is slated to take over from Stephen Fry as the new host of QI when he steps down this year.

Her official website is here: http://sanditoksvig.com/

LGBT History Month – Day 15 – Barbara Jordan

For our 15th, it’s Barbara Jordan (1936 – 1996):

barbara jordan

Barbara Jordan was an American politician, the first African-American to be elected to the Texas State Senate and the first southern black women to be elected to the House of Representatives, the first African-American representative of a former Confederate state. A strong advocate for civil rights, Jordan fought for the establishment of a minimum wage and was a fierce defender of the US Constitution. She was strongly tipped for a position in the Supreme Court, but sadly was afflicted by multiple sclerosis, which rendered her unable to serve in that capacity.

In the 1960s, while on a camping trip, Jordan had met Nancy Earl, who would be her partner for the next twenty years, and they settled in a home they built themselves in Austin, Texas. Jordan never publicly declared herself a lesbian – the House of Representatives website simply says that she “never married and carefully guarded her private life” – but following her death in 1996, President Bill Clinton and Texas Governor Anne Richards both expressed specific sympathies to Nancy Earl, and the information was discussed publicly by the media in the days following.

LGBT activists at the time expressed regret that Jordan never came out publicly during her life. Many asserted that, given her political stature and the esteem in which the nation held her, she could have done so with little harm to herself. But we must assume she had her reasons. Perhaps she simply judged that the political climate was not right; perhaps she simply felt it wasn’t state business. In any case, her legacy is that of a hard-working, hard-fighting advocate of civil rights.

To read more about Barbara you can click here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Jordan and here http://www.biography.com/people/barbara-jordan-9357991#synopsis.


LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 12 – Audre Lorde

Day 12 and we explore the life of Audre Lourde (1934 – 1992). Audre Lorde was an American writer, radical feminist, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. In her own words, Lorde was a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”

audre lorde
Her poems and essays focused on civil rights issues, feminism, and the expression of black female identity. Lourde is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression in her poetry, particularly the poems which express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life. She was a champion of intersectional feminism, and life-long explorer of her own identity and the universal identity of African-American women. Her main goal was to empower black people and lesbians, to make diversity a source of growth and celebration rather than a reason for marginalisation, and to encourage everyone to be comfortable in their own skin.

You can find out more here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/audre-lorde

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 8 – Gertrude Stein

Day 8, and it’s into the life of Gertrude Stein (1873 – 1946):


Gertrude Stein was an American writer of novels, poetry and plays, and a collector of art. Born in 1873, she initially studied medicine at Johns Hopkins, she moved to Paris in 1903, and began collecting art.  In 1907, she met her life partner Alice Toklas, and in the 1980s some 300 love letters between the two were discovered at Yale University.  Stein wrote one of the earliest coming-out stories, QED, in 1903, though it was not published until 1950. She also wrote ‘Miss Fur and Miss Skeene’ containing the first use of the word ‘gay’ to refer to same-sex relationships.

For more about her life and work, you can go here: http://www.biography.com/people/gertrude-stein-9493261

LGBT History Month 2016 – Day 6 – Sappho

Day 6’s inspirational person is someone who wrote poetry way before Hadrian was alive.  The work of the poetess Sappho (620 – 570BC) , also known as Sappho of Lesbos, after the Greek island on which she was born. She was a lyric poet – meaning her poetry would have been read out accompanied by a lyre – whose work was so popular in ancient Greece, and beyond, that she was honoured in statuary and praised by figures such as Solon and Plato.  Her poetry focussed on the romantic love between women. One verse reads:

“Never to let this lose me grace,
But rather bring you back to me:
Amongst all mortal women, the one
I most wish to see.”

The themes of Sappho’s work and her association with the island of Lesbos gave rise, in the late nineteenth century, to the use of the word ‘lesbian’ in its modern sense, as well as the term ‘sapphic’ to describe female-focused eroticism.

LGBT History Month 2016 - 06 - Sappho

You can find out more here; http://www.ancient.eu/Sappho_of_Lesbos/

Good News from Derbyshire Friend

Dear Volunteers and Members,

We are delighted to learn that out Big Lottery bid has been successful, this gives us funding for 3 years. Derbyshire Friend has worked with the LGBT Community for over 30 years and this gives us the chance to continue this support and to develop further.

These funds will allow us to improve the lives of LGBT people by delivering our services across the City and County. We will be focussing on improving their health and wellbeing, both physically and emotionally.

With Regards

Dan Merrison

Chair of Trustees