A variety of LGBTQ+ people are represented within the archive; activists, entertainers, politicians, writers and more. Find out a little bit about a few of these people.
1. What famous fashion designer lived in Islington 2001 to 2005?
Alexander McQueen was the chief designer at the Givenchy fashion house 1996 to 2001 before going on to found his own very successful Alexander McQueen label. He lived in Islington in Aberdeen Park for about 5 years, 2001-2005, with his offices located in Clerkenwell.
2. Yvonne Sinclair ran TV/TS, a support and social group for Transvestites and Transexuals and she was also featured in a book about crossdressing in the 80s. What was the name of the book?
Men in Frocks
Yvonne Sinclair was an activist, co-ordinator of the TV/TS Group from 1972 until 1988 and made the group into a registered charity in 1985. Men in Frocks (1984) by Kris Kirk and Ed Heath, published by Gay Men’s Press, provided a look at the Drag scene in the UK in the 80s.
Dressed to Impress
Walking in Heels
3. The playwright Joe Orton, along with his partner Kenneth Halliwell, are infamous for their defacement of local authority library book covers but Orton was also known for sending prank letters. What was the name of his most used alter ego?
The playwright Joe Orton is known for his plays ‘Loot’, ‘Entertaining Mr Sloane’ and ‘What the Bulter Saw’. His alter ego Mrs Edna Welthrope was his opposite as a middle-class woman with high moral standards and strong sense of justice. The majority of the altered library book covers reside at the Islington Local History Centre.
4. Bob Crossman was the first openly gay Mayor. In what years was he Mayor of Islington?
Bob Crossman came to Islington in 1979 and was elected as a councillor three years later. He was a political and social activist and was a member of various LGBT+ organisations including London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard and Gay Men Fighting Aids.
5. Lisa Powers is a lesbian and LGBTQ+ activist who previously lived in Islington, for which organisation was she their Policy Director?
Terrence Higgins Trust
While living in Islington Lisa Powers co-founded Stonewall and The Pink Paper and was Secretary-General of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, being the first openly LGBT+ person to speak at the United Nations on LGBT+ rights.
6. Kate Charlesworth is a cartoonist and writer; in the 90s her Auntie Studs comic character was included in which comic book?
Kate Charlesworth is the writer and illustrator of Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide (2019) and her work has been included in various LGBT publications including The Pink Paper and Gay News. The Dykes Delight comic produced by Fanny was a collection of comic strips from various artists.
7. Chris Smith, MP for Islington South & Finsbury 1983-2005, was the first openly gay MP in the UK. He publicly declared his sexuality at a rally. Where did the rally take place?
At a political rally in Rugby, Warwickshire Chris Smith addressed the audience with the opening words “Good afternoon, I’m Chris Smith. I’m the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury and I’m gay.” His words were followed with a standing ovation from most of the crowd.
8. k.d. Lang was featured on the front cover of the August 1993 issue of Vanity Fair with Cindy Crawford. What was the scene of the photo?
k.d. Lang is a Canadian singer and activist. She came out publicly as a lesbian in a 1992 in an article published in The Advocate, a LGBT magazine. The photos for the Vanity Fair cover and spread, by photographer Herb Ritts, featured k.d. Lang dressed in a suit in a barber chair while Cindy Crawford gives her a shave.
9. What is the name of the cabaret act known for her act of impersonating the Queen Mother at Central Station?
Female impersonator Colin Devereaux, known by his stage name Dockyard Doris performed in pubs, pantomimes, on radio and television. As part of the celebrations for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday held at Central Station on the 4th August 2000 Dockyard Doris appeared on stage as the Queen Mum.
10. What famous film director and writer was commemorated with an Islington People’s Plaque in 2017?
Renowned for directing films such as Sebastiane (1976), Caravaggio (1986) and The Garden (1990), Derek Jarman was also a stage and costume designer, author and gardener. He was outspoken about homosexuality and an advocate for queer rights and HIV/AIDS awareness. The plaque at 60 Liverpool Road is the site of Jarman’s former home and studio (1967-69).
Rainer Werner Fassbinder