A former Matlock man has given his thanks to the town after being named one of the most influential gay men in the country.
David Gwinnutt, who used to live with his parents in The Horseshoe pub, in Matlock Green, has come sixteenth in the Independent’s Pink List which catalogues the most successful gay, lesbian and bisexual people in the UK.
The artist and photographer was nominated for creating the pink union flag, which has become a symbol for homosexual and bisexual people in the UK.
He said: “There were 1,300 entrants for this year’s pink list.
“To come sixteenth was mind–blowing. I was so honoured, it was fantastic.”
David, 52, moved to Matlock with his parents from Derby at the age of 12.
He said that previously he had been a very quiet boy, however moving to Matlock gave him a new lease of life.
“Moving to Matlock saved me and changed me,” David said.
“It allowed me to flourish because it was a small place and it was so friendly.”
He attended Ernest Bailey Grammar School and said that far from being oppressed for his sexual orientation, he didn’t come across any trouble growing up as gay teenager in the Derbyshire Dales.
“I have to credit the town with that,” David added.
“It has such a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t be the person I am now without it.”
David moved to London when he was 17 years old and went on to study fine art and photography.
He created the pink union flag in 2005 and after carrying it on a Gay Pride march it was featured in a magazine, which gave it wider recognition.
David believes the pink in the flag is particularly poignant as the colour is not only associated with homosexuality, but pink triangles were used by the Nazis during the Second World War to mark homosexuals.
“Even though I saw the pink triangle as a symbol of oppression, I identified it as something to do with myself or my people,” David explained.
“It’s not totally gay, it’s about being part of the country. It’s not excluding gay people or straight people, it’s about acceptance.”
In 2006, he decided to set up a stall at Gay Pride in London and sell the flag.
“The whole parade was just full of red, white and pink Union Jacks,” David said.
He added that while the famous rainbow flag is a symbol of homosexuality and bisexuality at an international level, the pink union flag has become a symbol which is specific to the UK.
He gave his thanks to Matlock for the part it played in his upbringing and hoped his success would be an inspiration to other young gay and bisexual people in the area.