For LGBT History Month 2016, Derbyshire LGBT+ are going to explore some of our favourite LGBT+ inspirational people. Over the next 29 days, we will explore the contributions made by LGBT+ people to our present society: our art, literature, sports, music, values and the current attitudes towards LGBT+ issues. Some may be names and faces that you know well, others maybe not so; so we invite you to come and explore with us, and maybe discover a new inspiration. We have included historical figures and current notables, as, for us, LGBT+ history isn’t just in the past, it’s being written now. And now. And now. Every day we advance as a part of society, every news article about a trans* murder, every new equality law or tribunal case, every PRIDE celebration, every new medical advancement to help make surgery safer for trans* people or to treat HIV, every annual award for LGBT+ friendly employers, the contributions being made by and for LGBT+ people are not just in the past, they’re also happening right now.
Even though we have an extra day this year, there’s still not enough days in February for us to list all of the people who inspire us, so let us know in the comments if you have an LGBT+ hero, heroine, someone LGBT+ or an LGBT+ activist who’s inspired you.
So, without further fanfare, let’s get right into Day 1. Our first inspirational person is someone much admired by our CEO. For Day 1, we celebrate a lady who embodies grace and charm, April Ashley.
April Ashley MBE (1935 – ) is an English model and restaurant hostess. She was outed as a transgender woman by the Sunday People newspaper in 1961 and is one of the earliest British people known to have had gender reassignment surgery. At the age of 25, having saved £3,000, Ashley had a seven-hour-long surgery in May 12 1960, performed in Casablanca, Morocco by Dr Georges Burou. Ashley was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to transgender equality. A major exhibition, ‘April Ashley: Portrait of a Lady’, was held at the Museum of Liverpool from 27 September 2013 to 1 March 2015.
You can read more about her on her official website here: http://aprilashley.org.uk/