Celebrating LGBT History Month

Sam Oakes
February 1, 2022
Reward Life

As we head into the second month of 2022 (how is it February already 😱), we celebrate LGBT History Month - an annual month-long event that aims to promote equality and diversity of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Initiated in the UK in February 2005 by Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick (then co-chairs of Schools Out UK charity), the month focuses on sharing the stories, history and experiences of LGBTQ+ people. By doing this, people are helping to raise awareness in communities, with the hope of advancing educational curriculum and other institutions - promoting the welfare, support and safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people.

As an LGBTQ+ owned-business, we wanted to showcase our favourite LGBTQ+ icons and allies who support and play a part in celebrating and building this community. 

Our Favourite LGBTQ+ Icons and Allies (Picked by the Reward Team)

Tom Daley

Tom Daley

In case you haven’t heard of Tom Daley, he is a well-known British Diver and gold medalist winner. After being made an OBE for his services to diving, to LGBTQ+ rights and to charity, following his gold medal win at the Tokyo 2020 games, Tom said “I will use OBE to help the LGBT community across the world.”

The 27-year-old diver and gay rights campaigner said he felt ‘a responsibility’ to create greater acceptance of marginalised communities.

Sir Ian McKellen

Sir Ian Mckellen

In 1988, Sir Ian McKellen came out as gay and has since championed LGBTQ+ social movements worldwide.

The same year, he co-founded Stonewall UK, which lobbies for legal and social equality through campaigns that drive positive change in public attitudes and public policy. 

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga

An LGBT ally since the start of her career, Lady Gaga continues to stand up for the rights of all in the LGBTQ+ community. In the past, she has openly talked about her sexuality, identifying as bisexual, with the main goal of cheering on “radical love and a radical joy” that she witnessed growing up. 

Her hit single ‘Born This Way’ was the first number 1 song in history to have the words ‘gay, lesbian, bi and transgender in the lyrics. In an interview, she expressed that she wants to be remembered for the message behind the song, believing that all people are equal. 

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was a transwoman who became a prominent figure in the LGBTQ+ community in New York City during the 1960s to 1990s.

As an accomplished activist, Marsha founded activist groups such as Gay Liberation Front and Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R), which focused on changing the perception, laws and treatment of individuals in the LGBTQ+ community.

Furthermore, she was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969 and was an AIDS activist with ACT UP until her death in 1992.

Mj Rodriguez

Mj Rodriguez

An American singer and actress, Mj Rodriguez is a transgender woman who has featured in a number of theatre productions and TV shows, landing her lead role in the drama series Pose in 2017.

The series features the largest cast of transgender actresses, with the series showcasing the gay and trans community in the late 80s and early 90s during the AIDS crisis and capitalism.

In 2021, Rodriquez became the first out transgender person to receive an Emmy nomination in a lead acting category, as well as being the first out transgender person to win a Golden Globe Award in 2022. 

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies

Often described as a genius, Russell T Davies is a Welsh screenwriter and television producer, who has written many shows over his career, including LGBTQ+ shows such as ‘It’s a Sin’ and ‘Queer as Folk’.

His work has brought LGBTQ+ to the forefront of mainstream television, both in the UK and USA, in which he broke down walls in the popular TV show ‘Doctor Who’ by introducing LGBTQ+ characters into the series.

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury

Freddie Mercury ranks among the most sensational rock ’n’ roll vocalists in history, being named the ‘Greatest Rock Legend of All Time’ - beating Elvis Presley to claim the title.

He was one of the leading musicians, record producers and songwriters of the 1980s, gaining stardom with rock band Queen. Even though Freddie sadly died of complications from AIDS, his death lead to greater public awareness of the disease. 

Alan Turing

Alan Turing

A pioneering mathematician and data scientist, Alan Turing’s contributions to artificial intelligence and data science undoubtedly shaped the data professions we know today. 

Although laws during the 1950s made it illegal for Turing to be openly gay, he did not shy away from his sexuality. Instead, he continued to live his life, as an out gay man, both in social circles and his profession. It is his commitment to authenticity and equality that makes Turing’s achievements that much more remarkable to us today.

The Future for LGBTQ+

Even though we have named a few iconic LGBTQ+ icons and allies here, there are many more people who have shaped the LGBTQ+ community to where it is today. Everyone who stood against the homophobic slurs, backlash, violence, oppression and abuse up until this point has helped in changing the laws, perceptions and opinions of LGBTQ+ people. 

That’s not to say that the fight is over - there are still movements happening all around the world to bring equality, fair rights and justice to the community. We hope that the past and current memories, representations and actions of individuals will help in continuing to shape the future for LGBTQ+ individuals. 

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