A campaign has been launched in support of a memorial to a gay activist from Portrush who co-founded a movement to support striking Welsh miners.
Mark Ashton established the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) to support the miners when they went on strike in 1984. He grew up in Co Antrim and studied at the Catering College in Coleraine before moving to London as a young man, where he dressed as a woman to work in the Conservative Club in King's Cross.
He died at the age of 26 after being diagnosed with AIDS and has been memorialised with a blue plaque in his memory above the Gay's The Word bookshop in Marchmont Street in London, as well as a garden named after him in Paris. No such memorial exists in Northern Ireland.
The Mark Ashton Trust was also created in his memory to raise money for people living with HIV and the Mark Ashton Red Ribbon Fund has collected more than £40,000 for sexual health campaign group the Terrence Higgins Trust.
The activities of LGSM were later dramatised in Pride, a film released in 2014 featuring American actor Ben Schnetzer as Mr Ashton.
The organiser of a petition for a Northern Ireland memorial, Jude Copeland, a solicitor living in Belfast, said he became interested in Mr Ashton after seeing the film and attending a talk given by members of the group.
He met Mike Jackson, who co-founded LGSM with Mr Ashton after they collected donations for miners at a Pride march in London.
"In the film you see them [LGSM] being treated with hostility and that's complete divergence because all the miners were grateful to have someone interested in their cause," said Mr Copeland.
"The strike action ended and the miners went to Pride so there was real solidarity. It was because of their union membership connection that the unions got a motion at the Labour annual conference about supporting gay rights. That led to Tony Blair's government," he said.
The recent success of Channel 4's It's A Sin, a television programme which follows a group of friends whose lives are changed irrevocably by the HIV/AIDS epidemic, has created interest in the topic, he said. "My belief is that you have to give people the opportunity to support things.
"It's very easy to say it will only be of interest to left-wing people but I think he's somebody everybody could be proud of," said Mr Copeland.
A plaque in Portrush for Mr Ashton would allow the community to talk about the isolation of people around LGBT issues now and in the past, he said. "It's about unlocking and giving people permission to be supportive of these causes. I think a plaque around the north or south strand would be a nice way."
UUP MLA Doug Beattie said the campaign for a memorial was a "great idea". "I think we do, at times, forget about our social history and what has shaped us as a society here at home and events worldwide," he said.
DUP councillor for Coleraine George Duddy said the memorial would have to be discussed by Causeway Coast and Glens council before any decision was made.
"It would be nice to know a bit more about him and the part he did play and then that would have to go through council processes and public consultation before any decision would be taken on it," he said.