Anne Lister's York church plaque to include 'lesbian'

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Anne ListerImage source, Calderdale Museums
Image caption,
Anne Lister was a prolific diarist who wrote five million words, much of it in code

A rainbow plaque honouring the "first modern lesbian" is to be replaced after a backlash over its wording.

The tribute to prolific diarist Anne Lister at a church in York originally described her as "gender non-conforming".

But its wording drew criticism that it had "erased" her sexuality. It will be replaced in February to include the word "lesbian".

The church gave a blessing in 1834 for Lister to marry her partner Ann Walker.

The plaque at Holy Trinity Church was unveiled in July but organisers agreed to change the wording three months later.

Following an online survey in November, it will now read: "Anne Lister, 1791 - 1840, of Shibden Hall, Halifax, Lesbian and Diarist took sacrament here to seal her union with Ann Walker, Easter 1834".

York Civic Trust, The Churches Conservation Trust, York LGBT Forum and York LGBT History Month are sharing the cost of the new plaque.

Image source, Keith Seabridge
Image caption,
Lister was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1791 and was honoured by York Civic Trust

Lister's coded diaries tell the story of her life and lesbian relationships at Shibden Hall, Halifax, where she lived between 1791 and 1840.

The journals, totalling five million words, were recognised as a "pivotal" document in British history by the United Nations in 2011.

A new BBC TV drama starring Suranne Jones as Lister is in production and due to be screened in 2019.

Image caption,
Suranne Jones, left, will play Lister, who mostly dressed in black

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