LGBT+ History Month

LGBT+ History Month

This LGBT+ History Month, your LGBT+ Part-Time Officer, Joe Davern, looks at inspirational Welsh members of the LGBT+ community...

 

As January comes to a close, and exam season is over (finally), one of the biggest campaigns of the year is about to start!

Being a young person in the world today is incredibly challenging and confusing, the transition to adulthood has begun, and the future looks uncertain. For those who identify as LGBT+, it can be even harder, everyone’s experience is unique, but for a number of LGBT+ individuals, accepting who they are can be traumatic and isolating.

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK, and during this period we get to celebrate the contributions of LGBT+ individuals to society and encourage people to be proud of who they are even in the face of adversity.

As we are students of Swansea Uni, I thought it particularly fitting to celebrate the lives of Welsh LGBT+ trail blazers, and allow people to take inspiration from their stories. 

 

Welsh LGBT+ individuals in sport

Nigel Owens MBE

One of the best known rugby union referees, Owens was raised in Carmarthenshire and took up refereeing in 1987. He rose through the ranks going on to referee at both the European and international level, including the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Nigel Owens publicly came out as gay in 2007, a brave decision and one he feared could jeopardize his career. The sporting community reacted in largely positive manner, reflecting the changing perceptions within the industry. In 2015 Nigel Owens was awarded ‘Gay Sports Personality of the Decade’ by Stonewall and the year after in the 2016 Birthday Honours was awarded an MBE for services to Sport.

Gareth Thomas

Thomas is one of the finest rugby players ever to step foot on the field. Having represented Wales in both rugby league and rugby union he is ranked as the thirteenth highest international try scorer and second in Wales. In 2009 Gareth Thomas publicly announced that he was gay, the first professional rugby union player to do so. Since then Thomas has has won numerous awards including Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award in 2010, his decision to come out as gay he hopes has made it easier for those who also identify with the LGBT+ community to be proud of who they are.

Jess Fishlock

Jess Fishlock was raised in Cardiff and went on to be the most successful Welsh female footballer. Fishlock has played for numerous teams, originally playing for Cardiff City Ladies FC, she now co-captains Seattle Reign FC in the American Women’s Soccer league. Fishlock has always been open about being a lesbian, and is a vocal critic of homophobia and transphobia on social media, she supports the work of Athlete Ally an organisation with an the aim of ending homophobia and transphobia in the sporting community.

 

Welsh LGBT+ individuals in the arts

Russell T Davies OBE

A native of Swansea, Russell T Davies is a screenwriter and television producer. Attending Olfcha Comprehensive (opposite HSV), before going on to study English literature at Oxford, he is known for his work on Queer as Folk and Doctor Who. Russell made no attempt to hide his sexuality, and has been out since his teenage years. In 2008 he was listed as the second most influential person in the UK according to the Independent Pink List. He was later recognised with an OBE for his services to drama and awarded an honorary fellowship by Cardiff University too.

 Sarah Waters

Hailing for Pembrokeshire Sarah Waters is a Welsh novelist best known for he books Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith. Her novels are unique as many of them feature lesbian protagonists during the victorian era. Waters literary works have won various awards, including the Betty Trask Award, Stonewall Book Award, and Somerset Maugham Award. Sarah herself is a lesbian and her use LGBT+ literary characters is inspiring and is further evidence of how progressive the literary community is. 

Jan Morris CBE

A resident of North Wales, Jan Morris is a renowned Welsh historian and a trans woman. She is known for her Pax Britannica Trilogy - a history on the British Empire, and for travel writing on various cities around the globe. She has been recognised for her astounding contribution to the Arts in Wales when she won the Glyndwr Award in 1996 as well as receiving a CBE in the 1999 Queens Birthday Honours.

 

Welsh LGBT+ individuals in government 

Nia Griffiths MP

MP for Llanelli since 2005, she has held various positions within the Labour Party, and currently serves as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence. A talented linguist, she graduated from Oxford University before going on to hold various jobs including teacher at both Gowerton Comprehensive and Morriston comprehensive before entering parliament in 2005. She was once married to a man, but the marriage ended in divorce an she had proudly led her life as a lesbian since the mid 1990s, before publicly announcing her sexuality in 2016. Nia Griffiths is recognised as an influential Welsh LGBT+ individual in the 2017 Pinc List.

 

Jeremy Miles AM

Born and raised in Pontarddulais, he studied law at New College Oxford before holding various roles around the world, primarily in the legal field. In May 2016 he ran for Assembly Member for Neath, after winning the election he now sits on broad range of various committees in the assembly. He has been named in both 2016 and 2017 as an influential Welsh LGBT+ individual via the Pinc List, and has made numerous contributions to the LGBT+ community in the local area, including giving a speech during LGBT+ Mental Health Awareness Week in 2017.

 

LGBT+ History Month

This LGBT+ History Month, your LGBT+ Part-Time Officer, Joe Davern, looks at inspirational Welsh members of the LGBT+ community...

 

As January comes to a close, and exam season is over (finally), one of the biggest campaigns of the year is about to start!

Being a young person in the world today is incredibly challenging and confusing, the transition to adulthood has begun, and the future looks uncertain. For those who identify as LGBT+, it can be even harder, everyone’s experience is unique, but for a number of LGBT+ individuals, accepting who they are can be traumatic and isolating.

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK, and during this period we get to celebrate the contributions of LGBT+ individuals to society and encourage people to be proud of who they are even in the face of adversity.

As we are students of Swansea Uni, I thought it particularly fitting to celebrate the lives of Welsh LGBT+ trail blazers, and allow people to take inspiration from their stories. 

 

Welsh LGBT+ individuals in sport

Nigel Owens MBE

One of the best known rugby union referees, Owens was raised in Carmarthenshire and took up refereeing in 1987. He rose through the ranks going on to referee at both the European and international level, including the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Nigel Owens publicly came out as gay in 2007, a brave decision and one he feared could jeopardize his career. The sporting community reacted in largely positive manner, reflecting the changing perceptions within the industry. In 2015 Nigel Owens was awarded ‘Gay Sports Personality of the Decade’ by Stonewall and the year after in the 2016 Birthday Honours was awarded an MBE for services to Sport.

Gareth Thomas

Thomas is one of the finest rugby players ever to step foot on the field. Having represented Wales in both rugby league and rugby union he is ranked as the thirteenth highest international try scorer and second in Wales. In 2009 Gareth Thomas publicly announced that he was gay, the first professional rugby union player to do so. Since then Thomas has has won numerous awards including Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award in 2010, his decision to come out as gay he hopes has made it easier for those who also identify with the LGBT+ community to be proud of who they are.

Jess Fishlock

Jess Fishlock was raised in Cardiff and went on to be the most successful Welsh female footballer. Fishlock has played for numerous teams, originally playing for Cardiff City Ladies FC, she now co-captains Seattle Reign FC in the American Women’s Soccer league. Fishlock has always been open about being a lesbian, and is a vocal critic of homophobia and transphobia on social media, she supports the work of Athlete Ally an organisation with an the aim of ending homophobia and transphobia in the sporting community.

 

Welsh LGBT+ individuals in the arts

Russell T Davies OBE

A native of Swansea, Russell T Davies is a screenwriter and television producer. Attending Olfcha Comprehensive (opposite HSV), before going on to study English literature at Oxford, he is known for his work on Queer as Folk and Doctor Who. Russell made no attempt to hide his sexuality, and has been out since his teenage years. In 2008 he was listed as the second most influential person in the UK according to the Independent Pink List. He was later recognised with an OBE for his services to drama and awarded an honorary fellowship by Cardiff University too.

 Sarah Waters

Hailing for Pembrokeshire Sarah Waters is a Welsh novelist best known for he books Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith. Her novels are unique as many of them feature lesbian protagonists during the victorian era. Waters literary works have won various awards, including the Betty Trask Award, Stonewall Book Award, and Somerset Maugham Award. Sarah herself is a lesbian and her use LGBT+ literary characters is inspiring and is further evidence of how progressive the literary community is. 

Jan Morris CBE

A resident of North Wales, Jan Morris is a renowned Welsh historian and a trans woman. She is known for her Pax Britannica Trilogy - a history on the British Empire, and for travel writing on various cities around the globe. She has been recognised for her astounding contribution to the Arts in Wales when she won the Glyndwr Award in 1996 as well as receiving a CBE in the 1999 Queens Birthday Honours.

 

Welsh LGBT+ individuals in government 

Nia Griffiths MP

MP for Llanelli since 2005, she has held various positions within the Labour Party, and currently serves as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence. A talented linguist, she graduated from Oxford University before going on to hold various jobs including teacher at both Gowerton Comprehensive and Morriston comprehensive before entering parliament in 2005. She was once married to a man, but the marriage ended in divorce an she had proudly led her life as a lesbian since the mid 1990s, before publicly announcing her sexuality in 2016. Nia Griffiths is recognised as an influential Welsh LGBT+ individual in the 2017 Pinc List.

 

Jeremy Miles AM

Born and raised in Pontarddulais, he studied law at New College Oxford before holding various roles around the world, primarily in the legal field. In May 2016 he ran for Assembly Member for Neath, after winning the election he now sits on broad range of various committees in the assembly. He has been named in both 2016 and 2017 as an influential Welsh LGBT+ individual via the Pinc List, and has made numerous contributions to the LGBT+ community in the local area, including giving a speech during LGBT+ Mental Health Awareness Week in 2017.

 

 

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