This Monologue celebrates LGBT+ History Month – an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements.
Illustration by Nial Brimacombe
To raise awareness and celebrate the month, members of the JTP team have contributed short pieces about a specific person, event or group in the history of the LGBT+ community that has inspired them; an opportunity to uncover some hidden histories and provide visibility for voices and events that have made a difference.
Sara Nojoumi is a 3D Visualiser at JTP and has been instrumental in establishing and helping run our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) team, as both a chair and a member. With a significant interest in the relationship between people and places, Sara believes that architecture has the ability to transform spaces in order to improve quality of life and cater to the specific needs of inhabitants. She says, “My work here really allows me to explore community and human led design and by incorporating the values of EDI, we’re not only reflecting the true diversity of society but also creating a more fulfilled, innovative, and harmonious team.”
Here, she shares with us her thoughts on Stormé DeLarverie – one of the most assertive members of the modern gay rights movement.
Stormé DeLarverie was a lesbian drag king entertainer, MC, bouncer and a complete trailblazer. She is infamous for so many reasons but particularly for her purported scuffle with police at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, which spurred the surrounding crowd into action and ignited the Stonewall rebellion - one of the most important events leading to the modern gay rights movement.
I have long been inspired by her, not only because of the role she played in such a pivotal and lasting moment in history, but for her unapologetic and assertive attitude to intolerance. Stormé did not dwell on her role from that night and never sought to take credit for spurring a historical movement, but continued her involvement in the protection of her local community and became part of the official formation of the Stonewall Veteran’s Association. She broke both racial and gender barriers and was often dubbed the ‘Rosa Parks’ of the gay rights movement, mentoring generations of the young LGBT+ community.
I wanted to take this moment to celebrate and remember the vital impact that Stormé had on empowering the LGBT+ community and her dauntless activism. Whilst most people are aware of the importance of the Stonewall uprising, her involvement has been diluted over time and it is so important that her phenomenal story should not be forgotten or erased.