Carpenter was born in Brighton, England in 1844. He later attended Cambridge.

Upon receiving a copy of Walt Whitman's book of poems Leaves of Grass, his life was changed. He said, "I would and must somehow go and make my life with the mass of the people and the manual workers." Thus his legacy to the socialist and cooperative movements began. But it was his writings on homosexuality that made him unique.

In 1908, he wrote The Intermediate Sex, the first book of its kind in England – that gave information, hope and support for gays. Some even considered his books their lifeline.

His works are credited with inspiring many authors and activists that followed him.

Carpenter shared his life with George Merrit for nearly 40 years.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Jon Klein.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.