What is LGBT+ History Month?
LGBT+ History Month is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It was founded in 1994 by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson. LGBT+ History Month provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBT+ community.
LGBT History Events
There have been many steps taken to get where we are today, and it is important we remember these and appreciate their happening. Especially, as these events are often overlooked by our school curriculum.
Why Use the Rainbow Flag?
“Rainbow flags tend to be used as a sign of a new era, of hope, or of social change”. Rainbow flags have been used in many places over the centuries: in the German Peasants’ War in the 16th century, as a symbol of the Cooperative movement; as a symbol of peace, especially in Italy; to represent the Tawantin Suyu, or Inca territory, mainly in Peru and Bolivia; by some Druze communities in the Middle east; by the Jewish Autonomous Oblast; to represent the International Order of Rainbow for Girls since the early 1920s; and as a symbol of gay pride and LGBT+ social movements since the 1970s.
Today, the flag is flown as a sign of inclusion and welcome. When flown outside businesses, or placed in shop windows, it tells LGBT+ people they can relax, and feel safe to do what others’ take for granted: to hold hands or kiss their partners, to rent a hotel room together, to book a table for Valentine’s day, to demonstrate their love without hate. As an image, it reminds us of not only the diversity of sexual orientation but also of the diversity of human characteristics as a whole. (LGBT+ History Month, 2020)
Inspirational LGBT Figures
There are many people throughout history who have identified as LGBT+, and many of these did inspirational work that helped to change the world. A short list may include Alan Turing, Marsha P Johnson and Oscar Wilde, but there are many more to learn about and appreciate. Click the link below to discover 29 historical figures who identified as LGBT+.
Stonewall and Section 28
Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 caused the addition of Section 2A to the Local Government Act 1986, which effected England, Wales and Scotland. The amendment was enacted on 24 May 1988, and stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". It was repealed on 21 June 2000 in Scotland by the Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000, one of the first pieces of legislation enacted by the new Scottish Parliament, and on 18 November 2003 in the rest of the United Kingdom by section 122 of the Local Government Act 2003.
The law's existence caused many groups to close or limit their activities or self-censor. For example a number of lesbian, gay and bisexual student support groups in schools and colleges across Britain were closed owing to fears by council legal staff that they could breach the act.
The introduction of Section 28 served to galvanise the disparate British gay rights movement into action. The resulting protest saw the rise of now famous groups like Stonewall, started by, amongst others, Ian McKellen and Michael Cashman, and OutRage!
Recognising LGBT+ in sport
BBC Sport is celebrating the achievements of LGBT+ athletes, and the impact they have made beyond the realms of sport, throughout the month of February. As part of LGBT+ History Month, BBC Sport will aim to educate about the reality of attitudes towards the LGBT+ community in sport, as a group and individuals, and how those attitudes have changed over time. More information here.
Also, Football v Homophobia’s Youth Panel are hosting a series of events aimed at young people to raise awareness of LGBT+ issues, and keep people active during lockdown.
They include an education session for young people, ideal for learning more about LGBT+ identities and being an ally, hearing from young disabled footballers on their thoughts and experiences of football, and LGBT+ identity in women’s football. Find out more and sign up to the events in this link. FvH Events | Football v Homophobia
Lancashire LGBT is an organisation that works to ensure Lancashire is a place where, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, all are able to be safe, fully participate in all aspects of community life, feel a sense of pride and belonging and know that their contribution is celebrated, shared and inspiring to others.
There are lots of opportunities for LGBT+ people in Lancashire to find support and contact with like-minded people and Lancashire LGBT have a full directory of services that are available. To check it out click here.
Recommended watch by the Students’ Union
It's a Sin (2021) - Channel 4
New to Channel 4 is British television drama 'It's a Sin', written and created by Russell T Davies and developed by Red Production Company. 'It's a Sin' is a five-part miniseries, set from 1981 to 1991 in London. It depicts the lives of a group of gay men and their friends who lived during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the United Kingdom.
Our thoughts - “The AIDs crisis was a big part of modern LGBT+ history, and although cases in the UK are fewer year upon year it is still important to remember those that it affected and still affects. In recent years we have seen the development of HIV medication that prevents the transmission of HIV, and the progression of HIV to AIDS. PrEP has been made widely available for free which prevents someone contracting HIV, and also the UK Government launched the Independent HIV Commission with the aim to end new HIV transmissions in England by 2030.
From where we are now to where we were then is incredible, but it’s important to remember and honour those who aren’t with us anymore. ‘It’s a Sin’ tells the story of the UK AIDs crisis in such a beautifully tragic way that you will be laughing one minute and crying the next. We would highly recommend watching this series to learn more about LGBT+ British History, but make sure to have your tissues ready. La!”