The UK’s Top 5 LGBTQIA+ organisations and historical global LGBTQIA+ icons

Happy Pride, Studenteers!

Love is love and you are so welcome here.

LGBTQIA+ Pride month is celebrated around the world every year, in June. It is important to highlight as it’s:

  1.  A celebration of cultures and identities
  2. A chance for visibility and representation 
  3. Historically significant
  4. A platform for advocacy and awareness 
  5. Supportive and generates community spirit 
  6. Promoting education and understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community
  7. Inspiring for future generations
  8. Has a global impact 
  9. Helping to challenge norms and promoting inclusivity 
  10. Celebrating progress and highlighting work that is still needed.


In the UK, we are lucky to have organisations supporting, advocating, and providing resources for the LGBTQIA+ community. The earliest organisation dates back to the 1970s and is still active today.


 Founded; 1989. Its focus is to achieve acceptance and equality for LGBTQIA+ people. It does this by offering training, campaigning for legal changes and providing resources to support LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies. Stonewall is important as it works to influence policies and laws to protect LGBTQIA+ rights and decrease discrimination. 

The LGBT Foundation

Founded; 1975. Providing mental health support, sexual health services and community events based in Manchester. The foundation is important as it focuses on improving the health and well-being of LGBTQIA+ people.


Founded; 1995. Supports transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families. They do this by providing resources, running support groups and advocating to help people navigate gender identity issues and to promote understanding within society.

Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline

Founded; 1974. They provide a confidential helpline run by LGBTQIA+ volunteers for LGBTQIA+ people, offering a safe space to discuss issues ranging from coming out to mental health. This service is a lifeline for many people who are experiencing mental health issues, violence or discrimination.

Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT)

Founded; 1989. Supports LGBTQIA+ young people aged 16-25 who are faced with homelessness or living in a hostile environment. They provide safe homes, mentoring and support these young people to achieve independence. 


Sappho of Lesbos (l. c. 620-570 BCE)


An Ancient Greek poet from the island of Lesbos, frequently explored themes of love and desire between women in her poetry. It is one of the earliest known records of female same-sex love, providing historical meaning for LGBTQIA+ literature and cultures.  Her remaining work is fragmentary and has been celebrated for centuries due to its emotional depth and lyrical beauty. Even all these years later, her expressions of affection and longing for women have been preserved highlighting the timeless nature of her poetry. The term lesbian is derived from the name of Sappho’s home island, in recognition of her association with love between women. This has made Sappho a symbol of female same sex love and an enduring figure in the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Virginia Woolf by Lady Ottoline Morrell, June 1926 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Virginia Woolf 

An early 20th-century writer whose work often explored themes of sexuality and gender fluidity. Orlando: A Biography (1928) comes to mind here in particular with its portrayal of a protagonist who changes gender from male to female and lives for centuries, challenging traditional values of gender and identity. Orlando is celebrated for its bold and progressive approach to gender fluidity and bisexuality. Virginia Woolf had romantic and platonic relationships with women, most known is with Vita Sackville-West, also a writer. Their relationship had a profound influence on Virginia’s life and work. Virginia’s work has inspired countless readers and writers to think more expansively about self-expression and identity. The Bloomsbury Group was a circle of intellectuals and artists known for their progressive views on sexuality and relationships, of which Virginia was part, it helped her to express her feelings around her sexuality and gender more freely.

Gay rights activist Harvey Milk in front of his camera shop in San Francisco, 1977.

Harvey Milk

Pioneering as one of the first openly gay elected officials in the USA. His election in 1977 in San Francisco demonstrated that gay people could successfully run for and hold public office, inspiring many others to follow in his path. Harvey worked tirelessly to pass a landmark gay rights ordinance in San Francisco, protecting people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation in housing, employment and public accommodations.  He was against the Briggs Initiative, which banned gay and lesbian people from working in California’s schools. His efforts were vital in defeating this discrimination. Harvey encouraged LGBTQIA+ people to come out and be visible in society. He believed visibility was vital for changing public perceptions and decreasing prejudice. “You gotta give ‘em hope!” was his famous rallying cry, underscoring his commitment to empowering the LGBTQIA+ community and fostering a sense of pride. Tragically he was assassinated in 1978, galvanising the LGBTQIA+ community and allies. His death highlighted the ongoing issues and dangers faced by this community but also strengthened the resolve of supporters to continue fighting for equality. His life and legacy is commemorated annually on May 22nd recognised in California and elsewhere.

Alan Turing (1912-1954)

Alan Turing

Regarded as the father of modern computer science, his work during World War II at Bletchley Park was seen as crucial in breaking the German Enigma code, significantly contributing to the Allied victory. The Turing Machine laid the groundwork for modern computers and his contributions to artificial intelligence continue to inspire. In 1952, Alan was prosecuted for homosexual acts. He was given the choice of imprisonment or chemical castration. Alan chose the latter which unsurprisingly had awful effects on his physical and mental health. His treatment ended with Alan sadly ending his life in 1954 which highlighted the severe injustices faced by LGBTQIA+ people. Decades after his death, Alan’s contributions were officially recognised and he received numerous honours. The laws on homosexual rights changed in 1967 in the UK, this decriminalised homosexual acts between men over the age of 21. In 2009, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a public apology on behalf of the government for the way he was treated. In 2013, the Late Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted him a posthumous pardon, “Turing’s Law”. This pardoned thousands of men convicted under historical anti-homosexuality laws. His life and legacy are shown in the 2014 film “The Imitation Game” and on the UK’s £50 note, cementing his status as a national and global icon. 

Marsha protests Bellevue Hospital’s treatment of street people/LGBTQ. By Diana Davies, 1968-1975.

Marsha P. Johnson

An LGBTQIA+ Activist and Drag Queen, Marsha played a crucial role in the 1969 Stonewall Riots, a pivotal event in the LGBTQIA+ rights movement. The Riots marked a significant turning point, inspiring the community and forming many LGBTQIA+ advocacy groups.  Marsha co-founded the Gay Liberation Front, one of the first organisations formed after the Stonewall Riots to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights. She also co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with Sylvia Riviera, which focused on supporting homeless transgender youth and other members of the LGBTQIA+ community. As a transgender activist, Marsha tirelessly advocated for the rights and recognition of transgender people. Her activism was focused on the needs of transgender people within the broader LGBTQIA+ movement, highlighting often overlooked issues. Marsha’s visibility as a black transgender woman was groundbreaking during a time when both racial and gender minorities faced severe discrimination. To this day, her life and work continue to be empowering for all LGBTQIA+ advocates and the community. 

I hope you have learnt something from this blog and remember whoever you are, whatever your sexual orientation or pronouns: You are enough. You are valued. You can make a difference.

Enjoy this month and any celebrations you decide to take part in for LGBTQIA+ Pride 2024!

Until next time,

Sarah x 

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