LGBT+ Icons: Part two

This month is LGBT+ History Month and it’s an important time to reflect on the past. In this article we focus on LGBT+ Icons past and present.

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Sir Ian McKellen

In our previous LGBT+ Icons for LGBT+ History Month we suggested six individuals who have helped change the world and perception of the community. Now, we're adding seven more names to our list of icons as suggested by GSU Members.

Sir Ian McKellen 

Sir Ian McKellen came out during a radio debate discussing the harmful Section 28 in 1988. He then went on to co-found the charity Stonewall in 1989. Ian remains a gay rights activist in the fight against homophobia. Many will know him for his appearances on stage and on screen in films series such as The Lord of the Rings and X-Men. He has been openly gay since 1988.

Harvey Milk  

In 1977, Milk became the first openly gay man elected to a public office position in the US state of California. Milk helped to pass laws to protect gay people, including fighting Section 6 which sought to ban gay people from working in California’s public schools, and firing those who supported gay rights. Milk was assassinated a year after winning office.  

Alan Turing 

Known as the father of modern computing and artificial intelligence, Turing helped the Allies win the second world war by cracking a Nazi code. Due to his sexuality he was chemically castrated. However, Turing was voted to become the new face of the £50 which will come into circulation later on this year. The Alan Turing Law is now the informal term for the law in the United Kingdom on the Policing and Crime Act 2017 that serves as an amnesty law to pardon men who were cautioned or convicted under historical legislations that outlawed homosexual acts. Turing had been convicted of gross indency in 1952 and was only pardoned after he died in 2013.

Jojo Siwa  

Siwa is a reality television star, internet influencer and business owner who came out as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in 2021. Jojo has a wide audience of younger fans and acts as a role model for the next generation of LGBTQ+ individuals.  

James Baldwin 

Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright poet and social critic. Many of his works discussed the complexity of race, sexuality and class differences of a black man living in America. His work touched on homosexuality and bisexuality years prior to gay equality being discussed in America. Notable works include Giovanni's Room published in 1956.

Josephine Baker 

Baker was an American-born French dancer, singer, actress and spy for the French resistance, Baker was a bisexual who used her platform as an entertainer to advocate for social justice, including desegregation.  

Chella Man  

As a deaf, Jewish Chinese artist, actor and activist, Chella Man, who identifies as genderqueer/non-binary uses his platform to combat oppression. Man uses his social media and platforms to fight hatred and promote diversity and inclusion for minorities.  


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This image was originally posted to Flickr by BinaryApe at It was reviewed on  by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0.


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