Thanks Peter for this moving obituary to a partly unsung legend.
What a task she took on! What a difference she made…
The woman was an inspiration and will be very sadly missed..
RIP Rose XXXX
I had never heard of her, but what an amazing and inspirational life she led. Quite amazing. RIP Rose.
Rose was an inspiration to all of us working in the Gay Rights movement in the seventies and eighties.
Just one story that she told illustrates the attitude towards gay kids in the seventies.
A woman with a three year old boy had arrived on her doorstep after an obviously difficult journey. Rose invited her in and asked how she could help and was told “I’ve brought him for the injections! His dad caught him playing with his sisters dolls.”
Among her skills was the ability to win over parents who became counsellors and their homes places of refuge for hundreds of GLBT kids from all over the country.
Her anger became the white fire of change that altered the future, for the better, for so many children, parents and families.
WOW! Despite rough beginnings, that woman really lived her life! Incredible story.
I’d heard of her in passing but I didn’t realise she’d achieved so much for us!! I hope she realised how much she’d helped us all. Big big big inspiration.
Rose was a great help to me and my parents and I shall be eternally grateful to her. It was a long time ago now and how things have changed over the years. Rose made a significant contribution to making those changes happen. A true hero for LGBT people and all of humanity.
What a wonderful woman (The irony is that my family also came from Deptford and I grew up very close to Catford but never really knew about her until now.)
Thanks, Peter – very much appreciated.
RIP Rose Bless ya x
It’s depressing that I’ve never even heard of Rose, especially when she led such an incredible life and changed so many lives for the better. She’s an inspiration.
It seems society likes to sweep people like her under the rug and pretend they never existed. So much happened in the arena of LGBT rights during the 20th century. It’s such a shame that it doesn’t get more attention in school history lessons, like the women’s and racial rights movements.
I had the privilege to meet her once in the late 70′s. An extraordinary fearless woman – we owe her much.
This is a genuinely inspiring story – and a reminder that not all ‘straights’ are straight. Rose was a clearly a rebel all her life – in a very subdued and very useful way.
Being an American of an entirely different generation, I had never heard of her until this obit.
But now, I shall never forget her. And I’ll always think of her with the greatest respect and admiration.
I sent my parents to see her in the 70s. It was good to have someone to explain being gay to them.
WOW what a woman and what a life she lived, a true inspiration for all of us to do a bit more for others ;-)
I hope Rose is properly acknowledged by the tributes she deserves in the quality national dailies as well.
It was an honour to have her as a speaker in 1973 at Salisbury and Wells Theological College during a Gay Awareness Week. She became a valued resource once I went to work at the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement when we made many mutual referrals to one another’s agency as appropriate.
I had never heard of Rose Robertson until reading this article and i am ashamed of myself for not knowing of such a courageous and amazing woman. She was ahead of her time. She stood up for others rights even when she faced prejudice because of this. She stood up for teenagers who may not have had a voice and leaves a helpline which will live on and help countless more people. People like Rose Robertson sadly are not at the front of newspapers and may not be recognized. Now one of my heroines and will be remembered and missed by many.
RIP Rose <3
I spoke to and received a letter/pamphlet from Rose when I called her in 1979, I was 16. I still have the letter/pamphlet in a very tatty envelope, I got it out last night when I read of her death in the Guardian, I think that the fact I’ve still got it proves (to me) how much importance I set by it in my life. She gave me the courage to come out to my family, she sent me contacts which I arranged to meet on a day out to London which made me realise the support there was for gay people. Never regretted coming out, she changed my life. Thank you Rose, X
She sounds a great woman and someone that proves support is as easy as making a cup of tea and listening to people.
We need more people like Rose offering support around the county to help cut LGBT suicide rates.
I came out in 1989, just after Clause 28. My parents joined her group and was through talking to Rose that they were able to accept my sexuality. What a great and inspirational woman!
What an inspirational woman . I had’nt heard of her but this obituary has made me respect her. RIP Rose
I too am sorry not to hage heard of her before but what a truly admirable woman, especially so because of her generous disinterestedness.
Rose was a true inspiration to all, gay and straight. I was honoured to host her at Sheffield Univ Gay Society in 1979. She had some anxious parents with her that night who were able to meet a bunch of lesbian and gay students in all our difference. What a wonderful woman!
I once introduced Rose as a guest speaker at a CHE weekly meeting in the early1980s. An imposing woman who cut a fine figure in public, she struck me as amazingly courageous and compassionate. She was years ahead of her time, for despite the prevailing hostility of the times, she had a clear idea of fairness and justice that defined her and which defined her achievements. May she rest in peace.
It must be so satisfying to approach the end of life knowing you have made such a difference for the better. Especially after dealing with bigotry and ignorance initially by working in a field that wasn’t conventionally popular. A wonderful woman.
Great lady -she will now be at rest- Bless her.
What a wonderful and inspiring woman who clearly left the world a better place. I hope someone writes a book about her!
Awesome lady! Someone should write a proper biography – she sounds fascinating.
A great lady, a visionary inspiration to l&g people, someone who changed our world for the better, and – only now I find out!! – a courageous patriot who faced terrible dangers to defend her country from the Nazi threat. RIP Rose – we still need those who follow your example.
I recall Rose as being the main speaker at the very first rally I attended in November of 1973 or was it 1974? It was calling for an equal age of consent in Trafalgar Square and was followed by a march down Whitehall to hand in a petition to 10 Downing Street , there were an estimated 1200 people at that rally although the police figure was 800, video of it does exist as do photographs in the Getty Archives and in copies of Gay News in the Hall Carpenter Archives.
Sorry to have read this obit so late. I knew Rose very well as she was a dear friend of my mother’s (Willy Jump) who also was a longtime supporter and volunteer for P-FLAG NYC.
One of my most memorable moments with Rose was calling her childhood friend Quentin Crisp on one of her NYC visits and taking him out for dinner with my mom.
Rose will be sorely missed.