Rainbow plaque honouring Halifax's Anne Lister to feature the word 'lesbian' after backlash

The original wording on the plaque to Halifax's Anne Lister outside the church in York
The original wording on the plaque to Halifax's Anne Lister outside the church in York

A rainbow plaque honouring the "first modern lesbian", Halifax's Anne Lister, is to be replaced after a backlash over its wording.

The original plaque which was unveiled at Holy Trinity Church in York earlier this year but organisers have now agreed to change the wording three months later.

READ MOE: The fascinating life of Halifax's first modern lesbian Anne Lister

The diarist was originally described her as "gender non-conforming" but its wording drew criticism that it had "erased" her sexuality.

The church gave a blessing in 1834 for Lister to marry her partner Ann Walker.

Organisers York Civic Trust, The Churches Conservation Trust, York LGBT Forum and York LGBT History Month will now display the word 'lesbian'.

In a statement they said: "The steering group met on 3 December to review the November public consultation and found that 95% of responders endorsed the alternative wording.

"Based on this review, the four key groups (York Civic Trust, The Churches Conservation Trust, York LGBT Forum and York LGBT History Month) agreed to share the cost of a new plaque and an order has now been placed.

"The aim is to replace the plaque at Holy Trinity, Goodramgate to mark the end of York LGBT History Month on Thursday 28th February 2019 (time to be confirmed)."

READ MORE: BBC drama Gentleman Jack: Everything we know on the series about Halifax's Anne Lister
Surrounded by a rainbow, the wording will now read: Anne Lister, 1791 – 1840, of Shibden Hall, Halifax, Lesbian and Diarist; took sacrament here to seal her union with Ann Walker, Easter 1834

Celebrated as “the first modern lesbian” - though that was a word not in her extensive vocabulary - Anne Lister's story has been dramatised and documented on television no fewer than three times in 25 years.

The four million-word diary she began recording on scraps of paper in 1806 is a remarkable social document of late Georgian and early Victorian Yorkshire, and of a love that dared not speak its name for a century to come.

Using an arcane combination of zodiac signs, punctuation and mathematical symbols, Miss Lister describes in erotic detail that would not be out of place à la mode in Fifty Shades of Grey, her love affairs and her methods of seduction.

From her privileged perspective as a landowner, mountaineer and traveller, she also includes her thoughts on social and national events.

Her code was deciphered after her death, at just 49, from a fever while travelling in Eastern Europe with a woman who in today’s terms would be her civil partner, by one of her relatives