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LGBT History Month (UK) February 23, 2014

Posted by Sneha Khilay - Blue Tulip Training in Uncategorized.
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Throughout history, lesbian, gay and bisexual people have made highly influential contributions to all aspects of public life. All too often, however, these contributions have not been acknowledged. This not only ignores a vital part of our history, but has also left LGBT people feeling invisible and without role models.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month takes place in UK every year during February. Its purpose is to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, an otherwise substantial invisible minority group. The LGBT History Month marks a series of events which recognises and celebrates the lives, achievements and contributions, whether to society or in history of the LGBT community.

These events create an opportunity for learning, discussion and debate about some of the issues faced by the community. Each year the LGBT History Month is dedicated to a particular theme, this year’s theme is Music, more specifically combating homophobia through music.LGBT

The LGBT History Month, now in it 9th year  was initiated to coincide with a significant event which took place in February 2005, the repealing of Section 28 in England and Wales. Section 28 was a UK law from 1988 to 2003 (2000 in Scotland) which prevented schools from discussing LGBT issues, prevented teachers in offering advice to LGBT people and prevented the portrayal of same sex relationships as an acceptable family relationship.

Taking into account that education is considered paramount in eliminating prejudice against all minority groups, LGBT History Month stated aim is to “educate out prejudice” while “celebrating the diversity of society as a whole”. Schools, colleges and universities needed to be free to divulge information, offer help and advice, and promote equal treatment of LGBT students.

The idea of celebrating diversity of LGBT people stemmed from the ‘School’s Out’ campaign. School’s Out founded in 1974, to work on the visibility and safety of LGBT people in Education is now a registered charity which strives ‘to provide a formal and informal support network for people who want to raise the issues of homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and heterosexist in education’.

The LGBT History Month initiative in 2005 received government backing, in particular from Jacqui Smith who was the deputy Department of Education and Skills (DfES) and Equalities Minister at the time. The DfES allocated a two year funding for LGBT History Month as a start up measure. The event is now widely publicised, acknowledged and celebrated by public sectors, charities and private organisations. Long standing sponsors include Metropolitan Police Service, Amnesty International and Crown Prosecution Service. The prelaunch events have been held at key venues, Tate Modern, TUC Congress House, Royal Courts of Justice and Downing Street.

In the US, LGBT History Month, initiated in 1994 is celebrated in October, to included National Coming Out Day (October 11). Both in UK and US, there is a respectful acknowledgment to the example of Black History Month.

With the badge ‘Claiming our history, celebrating our present and creating our future’  LGBT History Month will continue to press for equality and visibility of LGBT people around the globe all year round.

At least 260 species of animal have been noted exhibiting homosexual behaviour but only one species of animal ever, so far as we know, has exhibited homophobic behaviour – and that’s the human being. Stephen Fry

“I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. And you…And you…And you…Gotta give em hope.” Harvey Milk  – first openly gay person to be elected to public office in US 



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