Trans activist Christine Burns has become the first trans patron of LGBT History Month.

The writer, campaigner and former Tory branch secretary was instrumental in helping the government pass the 2004 Gender Recognition Act and was awarded an MBE in 2004.

She joins other patrons for the yearly event, including Gareth Thomas, John Amaechi and Sir Ian McKellen.

LGBT History Month co-chair Tony Fenwick said that trans people were still largely “invisible”.

He added: “LGBT History Month has always celebrated the lives and contributions of trans people. We hope to work with Christine to highlight the common ground trans and LGB people share, and to educate people about the important differences.”

Ms Burns, who runs the Just Plain Sense podcast channel, commented: “May I say straight away how incredibly honoured I feel to receive this invitation. I’m not exaggerating when I place it up there on a par with the letter from the Palace inviting me to accept my MBE.”

LGBT History Month is celebrated every February in the UK, while the US marks GLBT History Month in October.

In the next two years, LGBT History Month will focus on sport in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics.