Secret Agent, Gay Ally Rose Robertson Dead at 94
BY Neal Broverman
November 05 2011 11:44 AM ET
After serving as a British secret agent in Nazi-occupied France, Rose Robertson would set up the first help-line for U.K. parents of gay children. The pioneer died peacefully last week at the age of 94.
An adventurous young woman, Robertson would enlist in Britain's Special Operations Executive program in 1941. According to gay rights leader Peter Tatchell, Robertson told him that she parachuted into France to spy on German troop deployments and to act as a courier for the British. It was her time in France where her interest in gay people would begin. Spending an evening with two French resistance fighters, she entered their room to find them in an embrace. She knew nothing about homosexuality and was curious; the men shared stories of prejudice and rejection. A similar experience played out when she took in two lodgers in the 1960s when she was a happily-married housewife.
Robertson would eventually start Parents Enquiry, a phone line where parents of gay children, and the children themselves, could call in for help, advice, or just someone to talk to. Running the operation from her London home, Robertson eventually received over 100 phone calls and letters a week. In the 1970s and '80s, Robertson would often appear on British television to discuss gay issues. The hard-working Robertson continued much of her work until close to her death this month. Read more here.