© 2019 by Ama Menec - Sculpture.    Last updated 9th November 2019.

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During November to December 2018 I set up a petition to persuade Calderdale Council that they needed a public statue of Anne Lister (AKA Gentleman Jack), for her home at Shibden Hall near Halifax.

Following meetings in February 2019 in Halifax and York, we have agreed to install a sculpture at Kings Manor York, (if the University of York's Arts Committee agree), as Kings Manor offers a far more secure site within an enclosed courtyard than Shibden Hall currently can. York was also instrumental in shaping the young Anne Lister, most especially when she was at school at Kings Manor. It's also the city when the majority of her relationships started, including her first whilst still at school.

The petition reached more than 10,000 signatures in just two months! Clearly this matters to people all around the world. Signatures came from as far afield as Antarctica and Burundi, with many brave signatories from repressive countries such as Iran and Ukraine, whilst anonymous comments came from academics in the UK and USA, who felt it would damage their careers if they spoke openly. Clearly we still have far to go in the western world!  

Below are comments on the petition given by signatories. Many are very moving and I've highlighted the ones that moved me especially, but all express just how important this sculpture is, globally. I have edited/translated those not written in English. The comments, combined with some of the countries people were signing from, left me awed and humbled. 214 people left comments after my own, and they are listed in reverse order with the most recent at the top.

The introduction to the petition reads: Did you know that only 3% of Britain's public sculptures are to named women, and none at all are to out and named Lesbians? The time is right, indeed, long over due, for a public statue of Anne Lister, the first Modern British Lesbian!

Anne Lister (1791 – 1840) was exceptional in everything she did. A highly educated scholar at a time when women were not allowed to attend universities, a polyglot, intrepid traveller, hill walker, mountaineer, industrialist, entrepreneur, phenomenal diarist and openly a lover of women, all this in the Regency and early Victorian eras. Visitors to her home at Shibden Hall will find out about her life, but there is no public recognition or tribute to this extraordinary woman in her home town of Halifax, West Yorkshire or anywhere else in the UK.

Bronze sculptor (and lesbian history tutor) Ama Menec has sent a proposal to Calderdale Council for a dynamic life sized statue of Anne Lister for Shibden Hall which she intends to make as a tribute to this remarkable lesbian, but Calderdale Council need persuading that there is a public need for such a sculpture. Ama believes she can secure funding to make and to install this public sculpture at little or no costs to Calderdale Council.

Please sign this petition and share it with friends if you would like to see a public statue, the first of its kind in the UK, commissioned by Calderdale Council of the remarkable Anne Lister. Thank you.

King's Manor window graffiti.jpg
To the left of the door is my proposed s
This spot needs an Anne Lister .jpg
Giving an Anne Lister presentation in th
Mini Anne Lister at York Blue Plaque unveiling
Helena Whitbread seeing a 3D Anne Lister
Helena Whitbread and Ama Menec with Mini

  • Because she should be celebrated. Because lesbian ladies don't get a fair crack of the whip.

  • There needs to more representation of sculptures of women and especially to celebrate lesbians.

  • I believe that Anne Lister should be honoured as a pioneer of women's rights, and should take her rightful place in as a woman of immense character and courage.

  • Yes, I for one would love to see a statue of Anne Lister in Shibden Hall. It is an important part of our history.

  • Lesbians have been white washed from most history in this country it’s time the balance was          redressed.

  • Her being a lesbian is somewhat secondary. She was an amazing woman. Who added was a great  bonus to our society. She left behind a fantastic legacy for all to enjoy.

  • Lets promote diversity and not imperialism.

  • It's important that statues of the marvellous women in our history are made to recognise the          impact they made on society. Too few statues to women exist, it's way past time to correct this.

  • Everyone has a different sexuality so its been going on for decades.

  • Equality. 

  • Why not is the question 🙋 why is it that the females are at the bottom of the recognition page 📄  always. Why do we have to push and struggle for the crumbs of any single point of view that            women might have left a legacy that is worth remembering? Why is it that the people who have      been deemed worth a 🗽 are so so often male. Why does it matter she was gay. It matters because she made an impression in history in the lives of modern lesbians she is our history. She is her story. She will be part of today's movement as the forerunner to modern day attitudes. I hope they do and get the best sculpture possible. The she deserves it and so do we. She will become a work of modern art as well as a past female who had strength and courage. Giving hope and fortitude. So again.. why not?

  • There are may people out there that are still afraid to share with the world who they are. this is so  wrong ... maybe this will give them courage and inspiration to be who they are with no fear.

  • Lesbian women are deserving of the same respect and rights of all women, anywhere. I believe this is happening increasingly in our society as awareness and education grows and the stereotypical taboos are lessened. This statue will help to consolidate that progress and provide an inspiring new, higher platform from where to build on this further.

  • Why not?

  • Lesbians are not fairly represented in public statues-and should be. This would be a step forwards towards that target.

  • Let's honour and reclaim LGBTQ+ history!!

  • It is important to see inspirational women as statues and there way too few statues of women.

  • Let every one live their own sexuality, this does not look anyone unless these people are attacking other people!

  • Ann Lister wasn't just a lesbian. She was an empowered women, a writer, a woman who lived her life true to herself and her beliefs. She makes us remember that we have the strength to be the owners of our destiny. Yes, she was a lesbian like I'm as well and I'm proud to share this side of my life with such a magnificent woman.

  • A great personality deserves a great statue.

  • Because it give me hope that in the future my country will do the same with LGBTA historical persons.

  • Visibility is ALWAYS important. Also, she was an exceptional woman!

  • I'm a librarian and gender and sexuality studies scholar at a university. When I was a newly out lesbian young adult 20 years ago, learning about Anne Lister was a revelation and reading her diaries was life-healing. I have read all of the research about her. What an amazing woman in all aspects! There is a lot to learn about history through her figure--all the complications of class, gender, gender presentation, affectional/sexual preference, political leanings, industry. I've yet to visit Shibden Hall myself, and I would love that when I do that there would be a statue. representing her. Let's do public history right!

  • I think is great representation and everybody should know her story.

  • I would love to see more non-hetero people remembered like this.

  • The figure of Anne Lister has always fascinated me, I would really like to visit her house. It would a nice excuse to visit the UK.

  • This story needs to be told, and this important pioneering figure celebrated through public sculpture is a great idea.

  • This woman was brave at a time when it was thought scandalous and immoral for a woman to love another woman. Queen Victoria didn't believe it happened at all. A statue would remind us that no one has any right to decide who anyone else should love.

  • Freedom and equality should be respected, no matter who you are x.

  • Recognition of the history women’s sexuality is important to me.

  • Because sexual preferences between consenting adults is a human right.

  • Be good to have more of significant women in UK history.

  • At any time diversity can be eroded. Laws can be repealed, human rights squashed or left out of plans. Cities are witnesses to cultural progress some are more awake than others. Sometimes an early awakening associated with a change in culture sets a sign for all to see that the people in that location, for whatever reason, have advanced. Others in the location can not only take pride, but feel glad in affinity with such awakening. Without it civilisation will fail, quicker than most might think. This statue will be a beacon for all who might appreciate that, and for those that live there, a record of progress unparalleled in many other aspiring cities.

  • ....signed with pleasure.

  • We are all equal.

  • Very happy to sign this - what a good idea.

  • Women have been brushed under the carpet of history for too long. Anne Lister was an extraordinary woman who challenged every prejudice about what women could do or be.

  • Because we need to.

  • It will represent an equal society

  • A wonderful and very apt idea. It's definitely about time we started shouting about our great women. I couldn't think of a more talented person for the job either, Ama's work is beautiful.

  • Lesbian's all around the world have contributed to literature, Science, Conservation, Art and Sculpture, Modern day Technology, Engineering, Now many are also in the midst of Military action. The list is endless, yet how is it, we never see them? The time has come for those Women that made waves and are still very much doing so, to be honoured as any Heterosexual. We are not going anywhere, so it's pointless to continue ignoring certain Lesbian's that helped path the way for so many of us today.

  • There are more statues to named animals than to named women in Edinburgh. Recognition leads to visibility leads to equality.

  • The time is absolutely right for civic society to acknowledge significant change in this way.

  • To support my friends.

  • There is always a first in society, a pioneer, and amongst her other accomplishments (including in mountaineering) Anne Lister set a precedent in becoming the first woman in modern UK history to enter into a lesbian marriage.

  • Because it would be radical and wonderful to see a lesbian statue!

  • What a fabulous idea and so well researched and designed. The Real People Theatre presented our "Anne Lister's Ladies" show at Shibden Hall in 2014 and it would be wonderful to have a permanent statue to this amazing lesbian in the grounds of the manor she owned.

  • We need a fairer representation of women in society and that means, a variety based not just on their work, but also ethnicity, orientation, beliefs, etc. On that front, this would be a good step forward in giving a louder voice to the lesbian community.

  • For representation.

  • Not only did this lady improve Shibden Hall she also wrote in code, a mixture of algebra and Ancient Greek. We need more women like this who are not afraid of their sexuality even though she was persecuted for being a lesbian. What a brilliant inspirational woman.

  • 50:50 Parliament #AskHerToStand.

  • It's only fair.

  • Wow, was my first thought on reading this petition, I love extraordinary people and Anne Lister certainly fits that category, that this public sculpture will be the first of an openly Lesbian woman makes it even more pressing that it should go ahead, all sections of society should absolutely have their achievements represented, I urge you to take up this opportunity with gusto and be the first.

  • Because I believe that everyone in our society should be represented.

  • Wonderful!

  • she was a hero! She was the first PERSON to climb the highest peak in the Pyrenees.. amazing!

  • There are no positive women role model statues for LGBT folk and it would have been good to grow up with some.

  • There are not enough females in history celebrated.

  • That would be amazing.

  • Women and lesbians need to be visible and celebrated and recognised as part of the fabric of our society.

  • We need to show positivity about lesbians & all LGBT people to every one x.

  • To celebrate our sexuality and have a visible and positive presence for lesbians young and old

  • To show non prejudice attitudes, less inequalities and show strong positive women even so long ago, it has never be easy to be yourself.

  • Celebrate LGBTQ!

  • It is time to respect differences, It is time for such a great woman to have a statue IN UK.

  • Equality for ALL.

  • It would certainly show complete balance in our historical books..

  • All members of our society should be represented in art and heritage.

  • What a good idea! And don't pull down any statues already in place, either.

  • This is important to me as my best friend is a Lesbian and i have other Friends that are Lesbians too! I have absolutely nothing against them! Everyone is unique and it’s entirely up to them if they choose to be a Lesbian! Everyone should just be left alone in peace to live their lives and to be happy! That’s why it’s important to me!

  • Everyone has equal right and can be themselves. Universally free.

  • I think it's important to recognise women in a world where we are trying to get equality

  • It’s time for society to be consistent with it’s so called values around equality and diversity. Our future generations need to SEE (not just be told) that everyone has an equal place in society, regardless of their gender or sexuality.

  • Lesbian culture is an important part of the social fabric of British life and it’s vital for the UK's lesbian community to recognise historical lesbians like Anne Lister.

  • I am proud to sign for this issue.

  • It is long overdue.

  • It's not only about her being a lesbian (which matters because representation of course), but about her being a woman that did not let others take control of her life at a time when this was quite difficult. It is also about her being an amazing human being, with her flaws and errors.

  • I honestly believe that the time has come to recover the history that has been stolen from women and the LGBT community, especially lesbians and bisexuals.

  • Is both correct and necessary.

  • Because we exist, we have existed for a very, VERY long time, and people should recognise us.

  • I am part of the LGBT community and I think it is important that we have our history within reach and above all that it be public.

  • Historical lesbians deserve visibility.

  • Lets go lesbians lets go.

  • She is an important figure and it can send a powerful message to future generations.

  • We have statues to pirates, MP's, traitors and slavers so why not raise one to a woman who was also a lesbian.

  • it's obvious.

  • This person is iconic and we need more representation.

  • Anne Lister was a very important figure for women and especially lesbians, since she did not let herself be carried away by what the society of the time expected of her and did what she wanted at all times. She was a very influential woman also about the people of the time getting them to help her. All a remarkable figure in the story, peculiar and that should be remembered, with a statue would be very well remember, as the great fighter that she was.

  • Anne Lister is a lesbian legend that could encourage other people to be who they truly are.

  • Because she refused to conform to the social norms of the early 19th century and carved out her own life at a time when women's rights and thoughts were not taken seriously at all.

  • Because is the most important lesbian of the whole history.

  • Lesbian women have been historically invisible for too long. It is time to make up for lost time and what better candidate for it than the woman who helped us understand new dimensions of the past with her words.

  • Why not!

  • Sounds as though she was an ornament to Halifax Society/civic economy quite apart from her love life. Lots of reasons besides lesbianism to honour her with a statue. No reason to hide her orientation either.

  • Because she deserves it.

  • Lesbian women deserve recognition and visibility in society, just as much as anyone else and here is a great opportunity for that.

  • I want the trans colours removed from her plaque and only one or more of the suffragette colours on her statue.

  • Public honesty.

  • It seems quite ironic that we should have to push for this today, which makes it even more necessary.

  • It would be great for lesbians to be visible!

  • Because I am proud to be a lesbian, and we need recognition at every level of society

  • Hardly any tributes exist to women who have contributed so much to all fields yet remain unrecognised. Time to redress the balance...

  • As a local lesbian, Anne Lister’s story is personally important to me. She was a remarkable woman and Calderdale Council should honour her life proudly.

  • She deserves recognition.

  • Isn't it time we had a least one!

  • This brave woman dared to live the life she wanted, and should not be penalised for it.

  • Because that shows the true nature of a country.

  • Time to recognise this woman the way she is.

  • These firsts are historically, and personally, important.

  • IT'ABOUT FREAKING TIME TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE LGBT PEOPLE IN YOUR COUNTRY.

  • Anne Lister is an important figure in Halifax, for women and of general interest for all. It about time we honoured this fantastic women. There are so few women given credit in sculptures and it would be attribute to Calderdale to have one of her.

  • Very important to recognise the incredible achievements of this woman. Women, including lesbian women have been censured, made invisible and written out of history. This sculpture would go some way to redressing this significant imbalance.

  • It is time for acceptance and change, I support Anne Lister and this move completely. Britain - you must put up this statue.

  • This would make Lesbians more visible (in a good way), and would also celebrate their achievements.

  • All Humans deserve equal respect and opportunity,

  • This is the 21st century and women are allowed to be whoever they want to be, thanks to women like Anne.

  • I AGREE.

  • At a time when women were often made invisible and underrepresented, Anne stood defiant. I believe she would have been proud to know her lesbian identity was fully recognised alongside her business, literary and political achievements.

  • Go ahead!

  • Please help as I care.

  • It's time to redress the balance.

  • 'Cos I’m queer, and it's the 21st century.

  • Because Anne Lister was powerful in the wider community as a woman and a lesbian and this matters to the local area and the country itself. We all need some sense of belonging and that there is someone like yourself recognised by others.

  • Lesbian visibility is important.

  • Backward, backwater bigots, the U.K. thank people like May for your new reputations of being abusive and ignorant.

  • Of course!

  • YES!

  • Anne Lister was a remarkable women and should be celebrated for all accomplishments and who she was as a women!

  • In an era when women were kept down and considered suitable only for breeding and keeping house, Anne did brilliantly. She showed that there is more to womanhood than marriage, motherhood and domestic drudgery and is therefore a positive role model.

  • Anne Lister of Halifax was a remarkable woman in her time. While there are thousands of sculptures and statues to men in the UK, its time that we had some powerful statues of women (who are not from the royal family). There are many statues and memorials to men who are gay, its time to recognise that compassion, creativity, brilliance and fortitude are signs of a strong woman. Let's celebrate her passion for knowledge and her gifts to the world.

  • Combat PREJUDICE.

  • Just make sure use the word lesbian on the plaque.

  • It will make me even more eager to come visit Shibden Hall and learn more about this remarkable woman. It also means that we today honour her for her bravery.

  • Because she was a remarkable & inspiring woman who rebelled again the feminine/masculine constraints that society tried to enforce to suppress women.

  • 3%...that's like saying women have not really contributed to society or furthered our growth. And sexual orientation has nothing to do with human values.

  • Because I'm a gay woman too.

  • She certainly sounds like a most remarkable woman. Young women need strong role models; I think a statue will help focus attention on her achievements and educate us all.

  • Think of it as saving some LGBT teens from suicide.

  • Diversity. Move into the 21st century.

  • Honour women of History.

  • she represents a role model for many people.

  • Why no, is the question?

  • As a resident of Halifax i think it will bring something more to Shibden house and the park.

  • Great! So who was Britain's first out gay male? Let's have a statue for him as well!

  • Why not ? Long over due.

  • What's all this fuss about gender? People are ALL part of the human family. Those who discriminate are obstacles to progress!

  • Yes please why not !!!!!

  • This woman was obviously outstanding at many levels, her sexuality is immaterial, and she should not be excluded from recognition because of her sexuality...... which is her business and no one else's. We have a large statue of Richard the Lionheart outside Parliament, but no one talks of his homosexuality...... his affair with the King of France is well documented, however brief it was, it apparently existed. Why does this double standard still exist in our Society?

  • We live in a LGBT world so it is right to show respect and erect this statue.

  • Let´s make a Public Statue of Anne Lister NOW!

  • If this remarkable lady deserves a statue it is not because she was a lesbian but for the other things she did.

  • Because times aren't the same as what they used to be back then. Times have definitely changed now.

  • Anne Lister sounds a remarkable woman and it is befitting that there should be a statue of her. Does Calderdale Council really need to be persuaded about this? Come on, it's a no brainer!

  • Why not?

  • As a lesbian I welcome this statue of Anne Lister as an important part of gay British history. It is right it should be placed where she lived and loved.

  • I lived near Halifax and read Anne Lister' diaries in the library there in the 1980's. She needs more recognition for her forthrightness at a time when women were very constrained in their behaviour

  • Because of the lack of lesbian visibility for all ages.

  • Lesbians have been invisible in History for too long.

  • Statues should reflect the diversity of people in the UK's history.

  • It's important that Anne Lister is recognised in the City of her birth. I can't believe the Halifax Council is unable to find a suitable place for her sculpture. Try harder Halifax!

  • It is time we recognised the LGBT community, they are as valuable to our country as everyone else, it is time to stop emphasising the difference and embrace them all.

  • To be a healthy society we need to acknowledge and recognise the achievements of women.

  • Ama has worked very hard to make this happen, it would be a credit to Calderdale council to commission this sculpture, free art, recognising the contribution of a remarkable woman from an under represented minority, what not to like?

  • It is important that statues reflect the diversity of the communities of the UK.

  • Anne Lister was a formidable woman. She deserves the recognition she should have been given back in the olden days. Her business like mind and self taught education should be a reminder that any women or man for that matter, deserves to be the praised for their accomplishments.

  • Time to celebrate true diversity in this country. Anne Lister was an out proud, defiant lesbian. Totally ahead of her time, also a great business woman and diarist.

  • This is important both for the visibility of women and lesbians - women who challenged the norms and took risks -to reveal the importance of women through the ages and their contribution. This would be a wonderful addition to the 3% of statues.

  • To honour and make visible lesbians.

  • Lesbians are invisible. This will help to remedy that.

  • It would be such a fantastic affirming action by Calderdale Council if they supported this positive action to finally have Anne recognised for the whole person she was and such a positive role model for young people coming out now

  • Ann Lister is part of Halifax's local history and deserves to be honoured with a statue. If she us important and relevant enough to have a TV series made about her, she's deserving of a statue in her honour.

  • Awareness of local history is important

  • This history needs to be visible to LGBT minorities to breakdown the isolation they experience in their own coming out.

  • Important as a role model to have the first public statue of this well known lesbian woman.

  • it would be such a credit to Calderdale Council and Shibden Hall to agree to this sculpture..We need to continue to look to the future and keep encouraging such prejudice to be resigned to the history books. I cant see and reason why this proposal should be denied.

  • Lesbian visibility

  • Lesbian Herstory is invisible and it is about time we acknowledge our lineage.

  • The Anne’s of this world helped break down attitudes of bigotry and exclusion.

  • Lesbian culture has for far to long been hidden

  • Evidence of lesbian and gay history barely exists. For the same reason she had to write her diaries in code. Its really important to unhide history and make it visible. She was also a formidable business woman and there’s plenty of less worthy business men with statues.

  • In the interest of equality alone, this formidable and hitherto ignored woman should be recognised and celebrated for all she achieved in her life.

  • Anne Lister was an extraordinary pioneer for women in her time and clearly pushed the barriers which excluded women from education, independent travel and same sex relationships. There is now much public interest in Anne Lister's life and a BBC series to be aired shortly about her. It is fitting that she be recognised in her home town of Halifax with a bronze work by acclaimed sculptor Ama Menec.

  • Recognising All people of worth, not just Certain people.

  • It is time to put right the neglect of pioneering women from the past. It is particularly important that the statue be commissioned from a woman.

  • In a modern representative democracy we have an abundance of statues of dead white men. It is only fitting that the art in our public spaces becomes more representational of the diversity of our times and celebrates a wider picture of historical figures.

  • Sounds a great idea. A statue at Lister's Home is fitting considering how many more exist for other male change-makers of her era.

  • Let’s recognise and respect our diversity and lead the way towards a more liberal and open society.

  • It is important to celebrate people from all walks of life in order to help create a more inclusive and egalitarian society.

  • Because everyone as equal rights and women have been denied too many at every turn and for too long.

  • I’m a queer woman.

  • Women deserve to be treated equally, there are so many statues of men.

  • Lesbian history has been hidden for too long. Anne Lister is a huge part of that history and ought to be commemorated with a statue.

  • We need to acknowledge our history, women are often written out or marginalised in history

  • It is important to show the histories of all parts of our communities. Lesbians were invisible for so much of our history (or persecuted if they were visible), so it is important to honour someone who had the courage to live her life openly as the person she was.

  • Because she deserves to be remembered for her honesty in the face of harsh criticism and personal difficulty.

  • Lesbians are invisible in history, it’s time to change that.

  • Ann made great strides in the time she lived in, she was years ahead of her time and showed great qualities, there needs to be a statue !!

  • It's important to commemorate this amazing British Lesbian. This would look great in The Piece Hall.

  • Fantastic contributor to LGBT history and movement deserves recognition.

  • Lesbians have been erased from history for far too long as women who do not conform to heteronormative patriarchal society. It is time we acknowledged and celebrated their existence and achievements.

  • We need statues of lesbians to show our visibility and that we are proud to be lesbians.

  • There's more to Anne Lister than her sexuality, as others have said; but the latter IS important. I give Anne Lister tours of the building where she was baptised and buried, and thoroughly support the idea of a statue.

  • Female recognition is greatly needed. A wonderful piece of art in recognition of women of Halifax.

  • We need more statues of women and LGBT individuals who contributed to society.

  • Crucial we see more women and lesbians across the country in concrete form.

  • She is a polyglot to make Halifax proud. The lesbian issue is a small part of a fascinating personality and an Epoch making trendsetter.

  • Equality and diversity are the underpinnings of a healthier and happier society.

  • Because I am a lesbian we have hidden for years!!

  • It is important to me because she was an independent woman at a time when women were not land owners or contributing to business.. the fact that she was a lesbian is incidental. She was a strong independent woman who decide her own path and led it.

  • Representation of a wider section of the community will help to embed equality.

  • I work at Shibden Hall and she’s amazing.

  • This is clearly a very famous lesbian. Make Halifax be the town that makes a stand.

  • Women and lesbians are being erased. We need to celebrate women like Anne Lister.

  • We need to celebrate all of the exceptional people in British history not just the heterosexual men! Halifax has failed to honour its most amazing daughter Anne Lister for nearly 2 centuries and it is long past time this was addressed. As the first British lesbian in the modern sense it is only fitting that she be the first subject of a public sculpture of an out lesbian in Britain.

Anne Lister at Exeter Pride .jpg
Gentleman Jack/Anne Lister sculpture small maquette showing folds in her skirts.
University students very interested in A
Getting Pride attendees interested in An
Ama Menec displaying Anne Lister maquette and both bases at Exeter Pride 2019