Jackie Forster, reporter and gay rights activist, is celebrated in today’s Google Doodle

On what would have been her 91st birthday, Google is celebrating the life and work of reporter and gay rights activist Jackie Forster.

Jackie Forster, reporter and gay rights activist, is celebrated in today's Google Doodle

Dubbed a trailblazer for her work in both television reporting and speaking out in support of human rights, Forster – who was known by her maiden name Mackenzie – became a household name in the 1950s as presenter of shows including Newsnight and Late Night Extra.

After a brief four-year marriage to novelist Peter Forster, which ended in 1962 following Jackie reportedly having a lesbian affair in 1957, Forster didn’t come out for another 12 years. At an event in 1969, at Speaker’s Corner, Forster is reported to have said: “You are looking at a roaring dyke.”

 Three years later, Forster co-founded the social club and accompanying magazine, Sappho, designed to “educate society about the true facts of lesbianism, support lesbians and women’s causes”.

Throughout her career, she won the Prix d’Italia for her coverage the wedding of Prince Rainier to Princess Grace in 1956, campaigned to help lesbians become mothers through AID – artificial insemination by donor – and was celebrated in an evening at the National Film Theatre in 1996.

Today’s Doodle shows Forster with her arms in a welcoming pose, the two ‘Os’ of the word Google make reference to her work on TV and her campaigning.

“It is quite an achievement to leave a lasting legacy. Jackie Forster is known for two: first, for her charismatic TV news reporting; second, for her trailblazing gay rights activism,” said Google in an accompanying blog post for the Doodle.

“Jackie made history by publicly coming out as gay, paving the way for many other women of the time. Soon after, she appeared on a host of television programs, speaking openly about her identity and helping viewers find the strength to accept themselves.

“Today’s Doodle by London-based illustrator Hannah Warren celebrates 91 years of Forster’s passion and pioneering spirit.”

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