LGBT+ community mourns the loss of beloved Derry activist Susannah Toland

Susannah Toland was the "only gay black woman in the Bogside" and an active member of the LGBT+ community in Derry.

B&W picture of Susannah Toland
Image: Justgiving

Beloved LGBT+ activist and community member Susannah Toland passed away suddenly last week and was laid to rest today in her hometown with a poignant rainbow flag guard of honour to celebrate her life and give her a fitting farewell.

Foyle Pride Festival posted a touching memorial to Suzannah on July 4th explaining that “As a young black queer woman when the movement was very much in its infancy in the city Suzannah was one of the first people who had the courage and determination to be who she was advocating and leading the way for others to have the strength to do the same.

“Suzannah always had so much to give others and her kind and caring nature was infectious to us all. This is a massive loss to the LGBTQ+ community and the city. Sending lots of love and strength to her father Anthony, her family and closest friends, rest easy sister

rainbow Guard of Honour on the road
Photo Courtesy of Felix Craig on Facebook

Shá Gillespie, a friend of Susannah Toland and fellow LGBT+ rights activists in the city posted a powerful and heartfelt tribute in the wake of the news of Toland’s passing.

“The saddest night’s of all nights. What a warrior. What an incredible human being. She stood tall in whatever life threw at her. The first time I came to Derry in 93, I was a young queer woman, confused in what I wanted in my life. I was walking through Derry one day and seen Suzannah walking hand in hand with another woman. I cried and knew it was possible for me to do that. We became good friends and she told me many stories of being a young black queer lesbian growing up in the bogside and the hardship she had to face. Again she was a warrior. She loved her family and took time out of her own life to look after her mum, who she adored and her dad. We have lost a true legend in Suzannah. I hope you are at peace sister. You were and are a true inspiration to everyone who knew you. Rest well sister. Until we meet again. 🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍🌈”

Susannah’s friends have set up a crowdfunding campaign to cover funeral costs that you can support here.

Rest in Power, Susannah Toland.

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