Icons & Allies is Pride Cymru’s highly popular exhibition on Welsh LGBTQ+ historical figures, available free to any public body wanting to exhibit it.

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Icons & Allies is Pride Cymru’s highly popular exhibition on Welsh LGBTQ+ historical figures, available free to any public body wanting to exhibit it.

Originally created in 2017 for LGBTQ+ History Month, Icons & Allies offers 20 portraits with accompanying text in Welsh and English of people who have helped shape Wales. They range from writers to politicians, from preachers to sailors and mining activists. The central thread is that they were (or in a couple of cases still are) people who should be better known as either LGBTQ+ themselves, or great allies in creating positive changes in Welsh
society for LGBTQ+ people.

The 20 people appearing in the panels were chosen by a process involving the public. Following an appeal for nominations, a shortlist of 31 people was drawn up and scrutinised by a panel of current LGBTQ+ activists and historians. Criteria were that they must have been LGBT+ (the wording used at the time) or great allies, and that their period of LGBT+ activism must be in the past. The final 20 were selected to show a diversity of backgrounds but although the exhibition was able to celebrate gender and historical period diversity, the process (and subsequent extra research by the panel) failed to locate any past Icons who were from ethnic minorities (though there are plenty of live and active ones in and from Wales). We welcome information to correct this.

The final 20 panels were:

1. Leo Abse (politician)
2. Micky Burn (soldier)
3. Eleanor Butler & Sarah Ponsonby (the Ladies of Llangollen)
4. John Davies (historian)
5. Hugh Despenser (medieval lord)
6. Dai Donovan (union activist)
7. John Gibson (sculptor)
8. Illtydd Harrington (politician)
9. Terrence Higgins (after whom the HIV charity was named)
10. Gloria Jenkins (FFLAG founder in Wales)
11. Angus McBean (photographer)
12. Jan Morris (writer)
13. Ivor Novello (playwright and actor)
14. Wena Parry (preacher)
15. Katherine Philips (writer)
16. John Randell (doctor)
17. Sarah Ann Rees (sailor and teacher)
18. Goronwy Rees (academic)
19. Viscountess Rhondda (businesswoman and suffragette)
20. Griff Vaughan-Williams (campaigner)

The exhibition is available for borrowing from Pride Cymru at no cost other than the expense of transport and has been exhibited extensively across Wales. Public reaction has been very good – and interestingly, while many say “I didn’t know they were gay/lesbian/bi/trans”, we also get people who say “I didn’t know they were Welsh!” so the exhibition operates on more than one level.

All enquiries about the exhibition should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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