LGBT+ History Month – February 2021

The overall aim of LGBT+ History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public.

This is done by:

  • Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT+”) people, their history, lives and their experiences.
  • Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBT+ community;
  • Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT+ communities; and
  • Promoting the welfare of LGBT+ people to enable them to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives, thus benefiting society as a whole.

LGBT+ History Month focuses on the celebration and recognition of LGBT+ people and culture; past and present.

The primary aim of LGBT History Month is to teach young people about the history of the gay rights movement and to promote an inclusive modern society.

It was only very recently, in September 2020, that secondary schools were finally allowed to teach pupils about sexual orientation and gender identity, and all primary schools teach about different families, which of course includes LGBT+ families.

The following short film, from 2019, explains more about LBGT+ History Month and why we need to know the more…

Everyone has the right to be educated in a safe environment that promotes equality, safety and visibility in education for LGBT+ people. People have multiple, complex and diverse identities, which is great as identities shape the world and make history. Why would everybody want to be the same???

When did it start?

While LGBT+ History Month originated in the US in 1994, in the UK it began 11 years later following on from an initiative that was created by a couple of teachers.

In 2005, the teachers, who ere called Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, organised LGBT+ History Month as part of a “Schools Out” project, a programme that aimed to educate young people about the issues members of the LGBT+ community face and to make schools feel inclusive for everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The event was held in February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act. What was Section 28 though?

Section 28 was a piece of legislation (a law) introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, which stated that schools and colleges were not allowed to “intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”. It could not be talked about, be mentioned in any way; so it almost did seem to exist, or so the Government hoped. Obviously this had a dramatic effect on so many young people who were left without support or guidance from teachers at a very difficult time in their lives.

Between 150 and 200 events took place across the UK to celebrate LGBT+History Month in the year of its conception, far exceeding the organisers’ expectations of 15 to 20 events.

The event has been held in the UK in February every year since and is getting more popular each year.

Why do we use the rainbow as a symbol of LGBT equality? – have you seen this flag or image?

Rainbow flags tend to be used as a sign of a new era, of hope, or of social change”. 
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 book a table for Valentines 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.

The following film shows how laws and rights for LGBT+ people have changed over time…look out for the first blue country and which countries still have the death penalty in place!

This year LGBT+ History Month is highlighting and promoting the amazing efforts some people have made to promoting and enhancing the rights and equality of the LGBT+ community. You might be surprised to see one of the people was a famous women footballer from exactly one hundred years ago and one was a young man who was responsible for creating the first link and bond between the LGBT+ community and the Miners in the 1980s. This link still exists today.

Here’s a short film about the life of Lily Parr

Here’s a short film about the sadly, short, life of Mark Ashton

Hope you enjoyed this session. As you will know this is LGBT+ History Month…therefore for the next couple of sessions we will look at more issues, from other important figures in the history of equality and diversity, to some facts and thinking points.

Take care.

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