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Pride Icons and Experiences Inspired by Them

18 June 2024

Pride Icons and Experiences Inspired by Them

June and the start of summer is always marked, for those from the LGBTQ+ community, with the arrival of Pride Month, a time for both celebration and commemoration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride, honouring the Stonewall Riots and Uprising in Manhattan of June 1969.

In particular, it is remembering the struggle for civil rights and citizenship, and the ongoing pursuit of equal justice in law for those in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as recognising the accomplishments of LGBTQ+ individuals, who are not afraid to be who they are freely, whilst also acknowledging the huge contribution they and the community make to our modern, cosmopolitan society.

It is with this in mind that we have assembled our picks of three pride icons who are either from the LGBTQ+ community, or who have had a great impact on or affinity with the community - and a selection of our best experience days that offer the opportunity to try and follow in their fabulous footsteps…

  • MUSIC: Cher

There are so many music artists across the generations who have always had a huge appeal to the LGBTQ+ community, but we would argue there is none bigger, larger than life, more flamboyant or more of a touchstone than Cher.

Starting her career in the 1960s with her husband Sonny Bono, she progressed from there to hosting her own TV variety show, and releasing a string of chart topping singles and albums (including her mega selling anthem "Believe", still the biggest selling single by a female artist of all time in the UK).

She also found success as a critically acclaimed, Oscar winning actress, for her roles in films like Moonstruck, Silkwood and The Witches of Eastwick. With her many changes of public image (she is often imitated by drag queens, and has received numerous tributes on several episodes of RuPaul's Drag Race), powerful voice and witty sense of humour, at 78, she is still an icon to this day.

But she is also a keen activist for LGBTQ+ rights; she received the GLAAD Vanguard award in 1998, in recognition of making "a significant difference in promoting equal rights for lesbians and gay men", and is herself a mother to a transgender man, with her eldest child, Chaz, transitioning from female to male in 2010.

And for those who believe in life after love - and that they could belt out "If I Could Turn Back Time" or "The Shoop Shoop Song" like this living legend - we have a number of All Singing All Dancing experiences, including Recording Studio sessions, starting from just £69.

  • FASHION: Alexander McQueen

The oft dubbed "enfant terrible" of British fashion, the late, great Alexander McQueen defined the 90s and 00s with his forward thinking, boundary pushing approach to sartorialism.

Openly gay from a young age, as a fashion designer, he was unapologetic and uncompromising in his approach, and his catwalk shows were as well renowned and challenging as his collections and signature designs. He was credited with the revival of the low rise jeans in 1994, a pair of which he designed were then worn by Madonna in an advert for MTV.

He also dressed some equally iconic stars in his time, notably David Bowie, who wore his Union Jack trench coat on the cover of his 1997 album Earthling, and the Icelandic singer Björk, who he styled for the cover of her third album Homogenic, in a striking Geisha style outfit, as well as directing the video for "Alarm Call", one of the singles from that album.

The New York Times once wrote that McQueen was "fashion's closest thing to a rock star. He isn't just part of the London scene; he is the scene." After his passing in February 2010 aged 40, his legacy has continued to live on. Savage Beauty, a posthumous exhibition of his work, first staged at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2011, transferred to the Victoria and Albert Museum in South London after great public demand in 2015. Selling over 480,000 tickets, it remains the most popular exhibition that has ever been staged at the museum.

Those with a fashionista flair that are inspired by McQueen might be interested in our Shoemaking Workshops, hosted at exclusive workshops in Kent by Hetty Rose, creating your own forward thinking pair of heels, using upcycled vintage kimono fabric.

  • SPORT: Tom Daley

Starting diving at the age of 7 with his local club in his hometown of Plymouth, Tom Daley first appeared on the international sports stage representing Great Britain in the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

Of course, he then went onto secure himself into history forever more, as he is foremost in many people's memories of when he dived for Team GB at the Olympic Games when it came to London in the summer of 2012, where he finished with bronze in the men's 10 metre platform event.

Add this to the many gold medals he has achieved in the Commonwealth Games, the European Aquatics Championships and World Aquatics Championships, and you know you are talking about a sporting great.

Publicly gay since 2013, he married his husband, Dustin Lance Black, in 2017, and they now have a family together with two surrogate children. Now aged 30, he has also actively used his platform as a gay man; he is a patron of Switchboard, the UK's second longest running LGBTQ+ helpline, and he has also actively campaigned for countries where homosexuality is punishable by death to be banned from hosting the Olympic Games in future.

Those from the LGBTQ+ community who are natural water babies will be in their element on our selection of Swimming Experiences, including open water swimming, gorge scrambling and coasteering, starting from £35.

Hopefully, our list of these groundbreaking and pioneering Pride icons has inspired you to go out there and live your best life as you deserve to, no matter what your interests are!

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