The Importance of LGBTQ+ History Month {UK}

 

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Why do we have an LGBTQ+ history month? Well, due to the lives and achievements of LGBTQ+ people who have been hidden, it is, and again, unfortunately, easy to stereotype and distort the realities of their lives. But by telling the true, authentic stories from LGBTQ+ individuals in history, we can replace ignorance and discrimination with education and knowledge. It will help to increase understanding of LGBTQ+ people from the past.

In the UK, LGBTQ+ history month takes place during February. It marks the achievements of LGBTQ+ people – it happens because, unfortunately, LGBTQ+ have been hidden from history, as they have had to hide themselves from society for their own safety. As a result, they have been ignored for their achievements – so LGBTQ+ history month aims to positively change that. This stemmed from the first LGBTQ+ month in the USA in October 1994; LGBTQ+ history month in the UK was initiated by schools OUT in 2005 – but the one thing that they have in common was that they were based on the creation of the highly successful Black History Month which takes place in October in the UK and started in October 1987. Furthermore, Black History Month is celebrated in October in the USA. 

Schools OUT is a 32-year-old organization {originally named the Gay Teachers’ Group) – that works for LGBTQ+ equality in education. The organization is entirely run by volunteers that survives on affirmation, donations, and subscriptions  – By working in education and with the school curricula, in particular, they have recognized that LGBTQ+ lives have be hidden, disguised or outright ignored. It is now run by a voluntary group – however, local organizations and individuals are welcome to create their own events. 

It also shows how far we, as a community, have come and how far we have to go – for instance, since the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1967, the UK has placed laws that advance LGBTQ+ rights (e.g. protection against discrimination in employment,  allowing trans people to change their name and legal gender, as well as  the legalization of same-sex marriage.) – While these are all good, we still need to improve. For instance, the  UK’s Gender Recognition Act still involves a highly medicalized process, and it doesn’t recognize non-binary people. Furthermore, younger trans / non-binary people are highly underrepresented in society, and are, unfortunately, attacked by the mainstream media. 

 

 

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