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  • Alana Stephenson

London’s LGBTQ+ Luminaries : This Month In History

To honour LGBTQ+ history month being celebrated in February, here are 5 influential and important members of the LGBTQ+ community hailing from, or who lived in London, and spanning across different careers.

Justin Fashanu

Not only being the UK’s first black million pound striker in football, he also came out as gay during his career. He was born in Hackney in 1961 and joined his first team, Norwich City, in 1978. Tragically, he took his life in 1998 but his legacy will be remembered as Britain's first openly gay football player.

April Ashley

April, from Liverpool but spending much of her life in London, was a transgender model, awarded an MBE in 2012 for her services to transgender equality. She was among some of the earliest to have gender reassignment surgery in history.

Sir Ian McKellen

An international actor, he has acted for over 6 decades on screen and on stage, first in London at the Art’s Theatre. He came out as gay in 1988, and has lived openly, championing LGBTQ movements. He has won a Golden Globe Award, six Laurence Olivier Awards and has been nominated for 2 Oscars.

Yotam Ottolenghi

He is an Israeli born chef who lives in London and currently owns seven restaurants across the city, 5 of which being the Ottolenghi chain. Locations include Islington, Spitalfields and Notting Hill. The food he serves is inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine, but influenced from around the world. He married his husband in 2012 and has two sons, for whom he “came out as a gay father” in 2013.

Arlo Parks

She is an openly bisexual 22 year old music artist based in and from London. She released her debut album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’ in 2021, receiving much praise and winning the Hyundai Mercury Prize for Best Album. She has since opened for Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Clairo, as well as performing at Glastonbury festival in 2022.

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