Rose Robertson, Pioneer
Tributes have come in for Rose Robertson, a pioneer of fostering acceptance and understanding of gays and lesbians in the UK, who died recently aged 94.
Robertson established Parents Enquiry, Britain's first helpline to advise and support parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual children in 1965.
Robertson had seen first-hand the distress and suffering caused by parents unwilling to accept their children's sexuallity.
Her first experience was as an Special Operations Executive agent in Nazi-occupied France during World War Two when she walked in on two of her French Resistance colleagues in an embrace.
Curious she eventually worked up the courage to ask them about it and the men told her a story of family prejudice and rejection. Robertson was shocked parents could treat their children so badly.
She set up Parents Enquiry after taking in two young men as lodgers, a gay couple who she discovered had also sufferred because of their parents' homophobia.
She was soon receiving over 100 enquiries a week. Often she managed to broker peace and acceptance between gay people and the parents who rejected them. Many put this down to her being obviously a middle-aged heterosexual housewife and mother and thus a reassuring figure.
"Her legacy is that she helped thousands of parents and lesbian, gay and bisexual teenagers find understanding, acceptance and reconciliation," Human Rights activist Peter Tatchell said.
"Until she began Parents Enquiry, gay children's parents were unrecognised and unsupported. Robertson highlighted a social need.
"Her pioneering work was replicated by others and it continues today through the services provided by Friends and Families of Lesbians And Gays (FFLAG) and Parents, Friends (& Family) of Lesbians And Gays (PFLAG)."
Robertson continued to work until shortly before her death.
Rose Robertson 28-10-1916 - 10-8-2011. Read Peter Tatchell's full obituary here