LGBTQ+ History Month, which runs throughout February, aims to promote tolerance and raise awareness of the prejudices faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. That means we have a whole 28 days to remember the history of the struggle for equal rights and the amazing contributions of this community. It’s also a time to look back at the moments that shaped the community today and see where improvements must be made.
Who started it?
The month originally began in the US in 1994 to coincide with National Coming Out Day. It was then taken up in the UK in 2005 by teachers Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick as part of the Schools OUT UK project, which educates young people on issues faced by queer communities. Its primary focus was to teach young people about the gay rights movement whilst working to put a stop to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, although the remit has increased in its reach in more recent years.
What’s the deal with February?
February was chosen to coincide with the abolition of this little piece of now-dead legislation called Section 28, which formerly stated that local authorities weren’t allowed to ‘intentionally promote homosexuality’ or ‘promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.’ So, while it wasn’t technically ‘illegal’ for teachers to say it was OK to be gay, for example, the law had the effect of basically keeping them quiet…
How are we observing LGBTQ+ History month in the SU?
We’ve got a whole calendar of events for you to get involved in from a Potluck with Bury Your Gays on 4th Feb, to an evening with the writer, thinker and performer Travis Alabanza (amaze!) More will be added to the list as and when they’re confirmed, so keep checking this page on the SU website.
We’ve also just set up a series of Liberation Networks, which will meet during the first week of every month in the Liberation Room in the SU building. There will be a different liberation meeting each day of the week and students are welcome to attend any that they define into. Check out all the groups and event times here.