Lily Parr, Footballer: LGBT+ History Month Icon (1)

As we approach the end of LGBT+ History Month 2021, we’re celebrating some of the amazing activists and allies of the LGBTQ+ Community. We’ve chosen five who we feel so fabulously represent positive change for the Community and more.

We kick off (pun intended!) with Lily Parr.

Lily Parr, 1905-1978 was a footballer for Dick, Kerr Ladies Team which was made up mainly of workers from the Dick, Kerr and Co factory – which made trams and light railway equipment – in Preston. With so many men enlisted to fight in World War 1, women’s football quickly became very popular.

Parr was born in St. Helens, the fourth of seven children and with older siblings, she developed a flair for football at an early age. Alongside friend and soon-to-be fellow team member Alice Woods, Parr dedicated most of her time to football and was noticed at the tender age of 12 by Dick, Kerr’s Manager, Alfred Frankland; a couple of years later she was recruited to his team scoring 43 times in her first season.

Lily Parr: National Football Museum, Manchester

Parr’s appearance was striking; a chain-smoker at nearly six foot with jet black hair and boasting a harder shot than any professional male football player.

By the time Parr was 16, the FA banned women from playing.

Dick, Kerr’s consequently went to USA and Canada to play before returning to the UK, where Parr became a nurse and settled down with partner, Mary. They were completely open about their relationship and with Mary’s help, Parr became the first homeowner in her family: an incredible achievement at the time, especially given her working class background.

In 2002, Lily Parr became the first female footballer in the inaugural National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame in Manchester; she’s an inspiration to so many, not just to female footballers, but to the footballing world, to all LGBTQ+ sportspeople and to all members of the LGBTQ+ Community.

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