To mark #LGBTHM20, Philip Baldwin writes about the women who inspire his activism
BY PHILIP BALDWIN
February is LGBT History Month. It’s a time to reflect on what we have achieved in the LGBTQI+ community and what we have still to learn.
As an activist I am constantly learning from other people, including some remarkable women.
Ruth Hunt has always been ambitious for the LGBTQI+ community, encouraging us to be inclusive and stand in solidarity against the challenges we face.
When she first took over at Stonewall in 2014, the organisation’s remit did not encompass trans issues. Ruth was one of a number of people within the organisation who felt strongly that this had to change.
I have heard Ruth speak passionately and always with great clarity to a range of audiences, from Pride rallies, in faith settings and to political conventions.
One of Ruth’s many gifts is presenting her arguments persuasively – I have seen her win people over to the LGBTQI+ cause who were previously perceived as against us. This is another reason why her appointment to the House of Lords in 2019 was so welcome.
I first met Munroe Bergdorf in 2014. Munroe has always been a trailblazer. As a trans woman of colour, she is not just an important role model, but also campaigns tirelessly across a range of equalities issues.
You can always rely on Munroe to be authentic and tell it how it is. This means that Munroe has caused controversy, including occasionally within the LGBTQI+ community. But sometimes these are the words we need to hear.
Baroness Liz Barker has been one of the most outspoken peers on LGBTQI+ rights in the House of Lords. Liz came out publicly during the Second Reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013.
Liz’s powerful speech touched on many issues, such as the meaning of family life, how legislation impacts different minorities, equal provision of services and her own background, including having been raised a Methodist. Liz has played a pivotal role in forging historic change in the UK. She is currently the Liberal Democrat LGBTQI+ spokesperson in the Lords.
The LGBTQI+ community would not be complete without Linda Riley. As the publisher of DIVA magazine, Linda runs one of the UK’s most important media platforms. Known for her integrity, vision and entrepreneurship, Linda has also supported many other important LGBTQI+ initiatives.
Linda is direct and witty. I recommend checking her Twitter feed, which I do daily, for her insightful thoughts and also for the latest campaigns she is championing.
I have learned a lot from these activists and, this February, I invite you to reflect on their achievements, too.
Liz Barker and Linda Riley will be joining me as guests on my LGBT History Month radio show. Tune in to Soho Radio on 12 February at 12 noon!
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