Our LGBTQ+ Heroes for LGBT+ History Month

This February we are celebrating LGBT+ History Month at The Access Project. We asked our colleagues, staff, and volunteers to share their LGBTQ+ Heroes.

Alan Turing

Our student Evan said:

“My LGBT+ hero is Alan Turing. He was very much the father of computational thinking and was one of the first to consider artificial intelligence in the way we do today. His work during world war one was truly awesome. Although his work on probability often goes unnoticed because he broke the Enigma code, he saved thousands of lives and will forever be an important figure in the history of war, codebreaking and mathematics.”

Our colleague Rebecca said:

“My LGBT+ hero nomination is Alan Turing – a mathematician and computer scientist and his work in WWII is suggested to have shortened the war by two years and saved tens of thousands of lives. He was gay and was charged with “gross indecency” for having a relationship with another man. He was pardoned in 2013.”

Alice Walker

Our colleague Charlotte said:

“Perhaps best known for her work as author of The Color Purple, Walker is also a prominent activist, campaigning for environmentalist, feminist, LGBTQ+ and civil rights. Her pioneering of ‘womanism’, a form of feminism specifically aligned with modern black women, and writing on alternative spiritualities draws attention to the power found within female kinship. An openly bisexual woman, Walker penned the first Pulitzer Prize winning book to feature a lesbian protagonist, the same novel that made Walker the first black woman to win said prize. Her writing is subtly explosive, cutting to the core, and encourages the reader to question their own relationship to every soul and object in the world around them.”

Professor Duncan Cameron

Our colleague Dan said:

“My LGBT Hero in academia is Professor Duncan Cameron, a Microbiology Professor and the Co-director of the Uni of Sheffield Institute for Sustainable Food. Professor Cameron is a brilliant researcher and educator who is passionate about science communication. He wears his sexuality and disability on his sleeve, and is a constant advocate for both LGBT+ people and people with disabilities in STEM.”

Peter Tatchell

Our colleague Sam said:

“I’d nominate Peter Tatchell as my LGBTQ+ hero. He was instrumental in campaigning to repeal Section 28 – a law that prohibited the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools. This law only came to an end in England in 2003 – when I was 15. Growing up queer is always going to be difficult in a heteronormative society – but knowing that LGBTQ+ issues can now be talked about in schools means it’s a little less difficult than when I was at school. This is thanks to a whole host of campaigners who helped to repeal this – but I’d select Tatchell as my hero.”

James Baldwin

Our colleague Olivia said:

“I chose James Baldwin because he was an important voice and force for equality. Although I only read bits of his work at uni, I think he was a beautiful writer and such a powerful speaker.”

John Amaechi

Our colleague Nathalie said:

“John Amaechi is a best selling New York Times author and the first former NBA player to publicly come out as gay. Since retiring from basketball, he has worked as a psychologist and consultant, and as a motivational speaker at schools.

He is a social activist, and created a powerful video on privilege that went viral.”

Jackie Kay

Our colleague Anastasia said:

“Jackie Kay is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist, and I know her from her first novel “Trumpet”. It’s about the life of a fictional jazz artist who lived with the secret of being transgender. It is a deeply moving work of literature. Apparently she was inspired by a true story!”