Professor Sue Sanders is a British LGBTQ and disability rights activist, female and gender studies educator, and charity organiser fighting against the oppression and celebrating the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people for over forty years.
Just like her campaigning, Sue has a diverse and far-ranging career. First training as a drama teacher, she has taught in schools and universities across the UK and Australia. She has run theatres, directed plays and performances, and been an advisor on numerous boards, councils, and public service groups campaigning for social justice and LGBT+ inclusion. She is the author of poetry, short stories, and many articles on feminist and queer issues.
Sue was a principal figure in forming the first LGBT Independent Advisory Group to Scotland Yard in 2000, which provided advice on how to help communities deal with hate crimes and get justice for victims of homophobic crimes. In 2012, the metropolitan police commended her commitment to helping improve the safety and security of LGBT+ Londoners.
For over twenty years, she has been the Chair of Schools Out UK, a group working for the equality, diversity, and visibility of LGBT people in the education system. It was while at Schools Out, she founded LGBT+ History Month in 2004. The intention was to correct the lack of mentioning of LGBT+ people in schools and challenge the culture of homophobia in educational institutions by campaigning for more inclusive and equality-driven local and national curriculums. Also, her immensely popular website, the Classroom, contains free lesson plans for teachers to use to help ‘Usualise’ and ‘Actualise’ LGBT issues for all students.
In 2019, Sue was awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Rainbow Honours board. She is regularly featured in the top LGBT+ power list and was named the Professor of Emeritus by the Harvey Milk Institute in 2014. She herself said, ‘My passion has been about making LGBT people visible because we know that if we make people visible, people change, the prejudices and stereotypes get blown’.