Icons and allies


A brief and random selection of significant people with local connections, who are LGBTQ+ or who have influenced our lives.

  • Oil painting of a boyish good-looking man about 21 wearing black coat and frilly lace shirt.William Beckford (1760-1844)
    Wealthy novelist who fled England due to a gay scandal, but lived the last 22 years of his life in Bath.
  • Chris Brown (1951-2021)
    For 13 years ran a popular coffee evening for gay men in his Bristol home.
  • Julie Burchill (1959- )
    Controversial journalist and writer
  • Charlotte Charke (1712?-1760)
    18th century actress and writer who played male “breeches” roles, lived as a man and may have been lesbian.
  • Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904)
    Lesbian writer, philanthropist, anti-vivisection campaigner and women’s suffrage activist.
  • Michael Dillon (born Laura) (1915-62)
    The world’s first person to complete gender reassignment surgery; lived in Bristol at the time surgery began.
  • Amelia Edwards (1831-1892)
    Writer and traveller, lesbian and early advocate for women’s suffrage.
  • UA Fanthorpe (1929-2009)
    Poet and academic
  • Michael Field
    Pseudonym used for the poetry and verse drama of Katherine Harris (1846-1914) and Edith Cooper (1862-1913)
  • Cary Grant (1904-1986)
    Hollywood film star who was born in Bristol and spent his boyhood here before moving to the USA.
  • Mary Hamilton (1721 – ? )
    18th century lesbian who married several women while posing as a man
  • Woman with white hair, black blouse, white necklace, red finger nails, speaking animatedly with her pint of beer on a table in front.Peggy Hancock (1923-2021)
    A barmaid in a number of Bristol gay pubs and loved by many of her clientele.
  • LP Hartley (1895-1972)
    Gay novelist who lived in Bathford.
  • Rob Hayward (1949 – )
    Gay activist and former Bristol MP
  • Robert Hitchens (1864-1950)
    Successful novelist who lived in Bristol for a few years around his late teens.
  • Waris Hussein (b.1938)
    Gay TV and film director known for early episodes of Dr Who.
  • Annie Kenney 1879-1953Annie Kenney (1879–1953)
    Leading Suffragette, Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) organiser in Bristol 1907-11.
  • CHB Kitchin (1895-1967)
    Clifton-educated gay novelist
  • Matt Lucas (1974- )
    TV comedian, co-writer and performer of Little Britain
  • Angus McBean (1904-1990)
    Theatre and surrealist photographer who was arrested at his home in Bath for gross indecency, and imprisoned.
  • Frank Miles (1852-1891)
    Head and shoulders portrait of a handsome man about 30, with a bushy moustacheFriend of Oscar Wilde and possibly his first male lover
  • Angela Needham (c. 1945- )
    Minister to the first gay Christian church in Bristol
  • Beverley Nichols (1898-1983)
    Writer, journalist, playwright and broadcaster who hid a family secret.
  • Vicky Pollard (1993- )
    Single mother and TV personalityMark Ravenhill playright
  • Mark Ravenhill (1966- )
    Playwright and journalist who studied at Bristol
  • Michael Redgrave (1908–1985)
    Bisexual actor, father of the Redgrave acting dynastyMichael Redgrave actor 1908-1985
  • Mary Renault (1905-1983)
    Novelist whose works had a large gay following
  • Aled Richards (1956/7–1985)
    One of the first people in Bristol to die of AIDS-related illness; Bristol’s first support organisation for people with HIV was named in his memory.
  • Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967)
    One of the greatest poets of the the First World War and lived the last half of his life in Wiltshire.
  • Monica Sjöö (1938-2005)
    Swedish-born artist, writer and feminist who became one of the visionaries of the Goddess movement.
  • Bram Stoker (1847-1912)
    Author of Gothic novel Dracula, Stoker was a frequent visitor to Bristol.
  • John Addington Symonds 1840-1893 writer historianJohn Addington Symonds (1840-93)
  • Bristol writer, art historian and forerunner of the 20th century liberation movements. His pioneering work to free homosexuality from religious and moral distortions are of world significance.
  • Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929)
    Artist most known for his paintings of nude boys and young men. Attended school  in Weston-super-Mare.
  • Dale Wakefield (1941-2020)
    The founder of Bristol Gay Switchboard in 1975.
  • Anna Letitia Waring (1823-1910)
    Poet and hymn writer who lived in Bristol most of her life.
  • James Whale (1889-1956)
    Gay Hollywood film director James Whale made numerous visits to Bristol in the 1920s and 1930s.
  • Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
    Oscar Wilde never lived in Bristol, however he had friends in the city and was a frequent visitor.
  • Stephen Williams (1966- )
    Bristol’s first openly gay MP

Someone you would like to see included? – then tell us!
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