Carol Ann Duffy — Poet Laureate
Poet Laureate is the highest accolade that any British poet can be offered, as it has the alternative job title of Private Poet to The Queen. Carol Ann Duffy became the first woman, the first Scot and the first openly bisexual person ever to be chosen for the position when she took over from Andrew Motion in 2009. She was close to being offered the position in 1999 but said she would not have accepted it then because she was in a relationship with fellow poet Jackie Kay and would not have wanted a media furor to have ensued.
When she did bag the job ten years later there was thankfully no furore, just positive recognition of the fact that her appointment was historically significant. Since accepting her role she has penned a host of works about society’s happenings. Our personal favourite is Achilles about the injury that has prevented David Beckham from playing in the 2010 Football World Cup.
Sue Perkins — Broadcaster
Miss Perkins was by far the numero uno choice from our twitter poll, by a lesbian voting mile. She first turned up on British screens as part of a presenting duo with Mel Giedroyc on Light Lunch back in the late ’90s. As fans of the show, we both often feigned illness or university study time to stay home to watch the wonderful tomfoolery that ensued on a daily basis.
Although many a keen lady-loving viewer suspected Sue’s batting team preference during this era, it wasn’t until her ex-girlfriend, Rhona Cameron, outed her a few years later on the reality programme, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here that we knew for sure that she was.
Since then, Sue’s career has been nothing short of marvelous and she seems to be walking in the footsteps of Toksvig by becoming an integral part of the BBC, appearing regularly on panel shows like the News Quiz and fronting her own shows such as the Supersizer series with Giles Coren.
Margot James — Politician
Despite our bitter dismay at the Conservative government’s return to power, in part due to their lack of progressive views and dismal voting records on gay issues, there is at least some glimmer of hope in the newly elected Margot James. James is only the second ever out lesbian in parliament and lives with her TV presenter partner Jay Hunt who you may be familiar with from BBC Three’s Spendaholics.
Considering one of James’ Tory colleagues thinks you can "pray away the gay," it will be interesting to see what influence, if any, she has in her party’s future stance on queer matters.
We are cheating here but it was impossible to pick just one of these wonderful ladies. Popular British television can often be split into two types; shows that grittily represent the thrills and ills of our society and those that border on unwatchable pie-throwing absurdity.
Never had a show merged both genres successfully until these three women (and Brian Park) knocked heads and crafted alchemy genius in the form of Bad Girls. With the rather lovely added bonus of characters Nikki Wade and Helen Stewart.
Crazy in hindsight, but the trio was advised after series one to drop the Helen Stewart character as the TV big wigs thought she wasn’t capturing the nation enough. So much heartfelt applause goes to them for sticking to their guns and developing one of the most beautiful love stories to have ever existed on our screens. A special mention must also go to the frankly mental Footballers’ Wives, with Hazel Bailey the lesbian ball-breaking sports agent as one its highlights.
So what do you think ladies? Are we missing anyone? And can anyone think of someone younger than 30 that we could have included?
"Great LezBritain" authors Sarah, a Londoner, and Lee, a Glaswegian, met in a gay discotheque one bleak mid winter, eight years ago and have been shacked up together ever since. When not watching Tipping The Velvet, they find time to write, run a PR company, DJ at their own club nights and love a bit of jam on toast. Follow them on Twitter at greatlezbritain.