LGBT+ History: Russel T Davies (OBE), Audre Lorde and Sarah McBride
Russel T Davies (OBE) (He/Him)
Russel T Davies has revolutionised British television by telling stories which champion oppressed narratives. Through shows like Queer as Folk, Cucumber and most recently It’s a Sin, a show following a group of gay men living during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the UK.
For the first time in the UK, Davies has managed to put the AIDS pandemic at the forefront of a British drama, focusing on the stigma and the terror the public created around it. In a recent article, Davies explains…
‘There are things I can’t say here. Men I dare not name. The first man I ever had sex with. A man I loved for three months in 1988. That hilarious friend I spent a mad week with in Glasgow. All of them dead, now. And they all died of Aids. But I can’t say their names because their families said they died of cancer or pneumonia. And they maintain that story to this day.’
Under the rug no more
Davies’ experiences, along with the stories he tells allows for LGBT+ experiences and stories to be part of the mainstream, and in turn ‘LGBT+ issues’ become society’s issues. For too long these narratives have been swept under rugs for shame and the law, but moving into 2021, there is a growing space for them and people like Davies are helping to carve it out.
Davies is a reminder to us all of the power in people being able to tell their truths and giving them the platform to do so.
Click here for more information and a discussion group on Davies new series – It’s a Sin – Community Reflection Group
Audre Lorde (She/Her)
Audre Lorde, 1934-1992, was an American writer, feminist, librarian and civil rights activist. She described herself as ‘Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet’. Through her poetry, activism, theory and an unstoppable drive, Lorde has become an icon for justice for oppressed groups. She worked to carve out a space in society for so many of us today to live our truths.
The daughter of Caribbean parents, legally blind when she was young, Lorde faced issues of colourism and ableism even within her own community. From a young age, Lorde saw herself as an outcast and found power in poetry for self-expression. She described herself as “…other in every group I’m part of,” but goes on to add “the outsider, both strength and weakness…”. This strength saw Lorde become a force within feminism, anti-racism and anti-war campaigning. She defied the status-quo of feminism at the time and championed intersectionality and became a guiding voice of the third wave feminism movement. Through poetic works such as Coal, and The Black Unicorn, and essays such as, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House, she fought for representation of society’s most overlooked groups.
Power from pain
In 1978, Lorde was diagnosed with breast cancer but again found power in her narrative, turning it into The Cancer Journals. Lorde passed away 14 years later at the age of 58, a life far from unaccomplished. Lorde’s work is a constant reminder to us of the power our voices can have for the justice of others.
Check out Audre Lorde’s poetry foundation here
Find out about the Audre Lorde Project here
Sarah McBride (She/Her)
”Will we be a nation where there’s only one way to love, one way to look, one way to live? Or will we be a nation where everyone has the freedom to live openly and equally; a nation that’s stronger together?”
Often being a member of a marginalised group means being the first to accomplish things many of us take for granted. No one knows this reality like Delaware Senator, Sarah McBride, the first transgender senator in America.
McBride started her career as a political activist, and emerged as a political leader, campaigning for equality for all people. After coming out as transgender in her college student newspaper, where she was student body president. McBride has gone onto intern at the White House, again the first openly transgender woman to work there, later going on to work there for LGBT+ issues, advocating protections, legalisation of hate crimes and more. In 2020, McBride won the Delaware state senate election in a landslide victory of 73%.
Never stop fighting
Sarah McBride fought for her seat at the table, and works to create space for all people. Her work encourages us to ask ourselves a question – am I doing all I can to make space for all people? You can read more about McBride in her 2018 memoir, Tomorrow Will Be Different
Click here to find out more about the Sarah McBride campaign
For more information on the Sarah McBride Human Rights Campaign – Click here
We hope that you enjoyed these amazing stories this week, we’ll be featuring 3 more inspirational figures next week… if you missed last’s week blog click here.