Statement on Anne Lister’s rainbow plaque

Kit Heyam2018, Heritage0 Comments

The intention of the commemorative rainbow plaque at Holy Trinity Goodramgate in York is to recognise the impact Anne Lister has had on so many people and to celebrate an important figure and moment in LGBT history. While we’ve received many positive responses to the plaque, we are really sorry that there are also many people who feel let down by the plaque’s wording.

The wording was shaped by several open consultations held with York’s LGBT community between July 2017 and February 2018. It was intended to highlight Anne Lister and Ann Walker’s deep commitment to each other, to reflect Anne’s gender-nonconforming presentation, to raise the profile of queer history and to celebrate an LBGT icon. The phrase ‘gender-nonconforming’ was not intended to be read as a replacement for the word ‘lesbian’. However, we understand and accept that it has been read in this way. We recognise that this has hurt people, and we apologise.

We’ve heard the criticism and we’re open to the idea of updating the plaque in the near future. We want to listen to everyone’s voices, both those who are unhappy with the plaque’s wording and those who are happy with it. We’re now exploring ways in which we can actively and constructively gather more views and contribute to local and national discussion about Anne’s impact today, which we’ll share online for feedback at @yorklgbthistory on twitter and www.yorklgbthistory.org.uk in the next fortnight. Please bear with us while we come up with a process that is transparent and accessible to as many people as possible.

  • York Civic Trust, YORK LGBT Forum, York LGBT History Month and The Churches Conservation Trust
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Kit Heyam

Kit is the former lead coordinator of York LGBT History Month, a researcher of LGBT history, and a trans awareness trainer.

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