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LGBT+ History Month comes around every February in the UK… but what is it, why is it important and how can you take part?  Whether you have celebrated before or know nothing about this important month, we hope to bring you up to speed with all of the ways you can honour the past of the community in 2019, including some fun activities hosted by our own LGBT+ Network!

A brief history…

While the event has existed in the US since the 90’s, the first UK LGBT+ History Month was in February 2005, coinciding with the 2nd anniversary of the abolition of Section 28, a law which prohibited any local authority from “promoting homosexuality”. This month was introduced in order to educate people about the queer community, a group that historically has been erased and discriminated against, as well as to celebrate the parts of our history that are often overlooked. (This is why we don’t have a straight or a cisgender history month, but it doesn’t mean people outside the community can’t join in with the fun!)

What’s happening this year? 

This year’s theme is Peace, Activism & Reconciliation. With 2019 marking 50 years since the Stonewall riots, (where the community, predominantly trans women of colour, stood up to police violence) there is plenty we can still learn from LGBT+ activists of the past. Bloomsbury hosts one of the most important landmarks in our history - the bookshop Gay’s The Word, which was the meeting place of the activist group Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM). LGSM provided aid for the miners during the strikes of 1984-85, and showed the importance of showing solidarity between struggling groups. (the network will be screening the movie Pride with special guests during the month - stay tuned!). Their legacy is still alive today, with the Stanstead 15 and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants creating links between the LGBT+ community and migrants suffering the threat of deportation, many of whom are LGBT+ and will be in danger if removed from the country.

There are plenty of important people that we could mention, but that is for you to explore for yourself! 

How can I honour/ celebrate this month? 

There are many ways you can honour and/or celebrate LGBT+ History Month, whether you are LGBT+ yourself or not. During this month there are often many educational events based on LGBT+ history in the UK or around the world, the lives of key LGBT+ activists, and the current frontiers of LGBT+ activism. These events are often in the form of talks, documentary screenings, workshops and discussion groups.

History is a continuous process and some may say our history is not over, and this is evident with the number of LGBT+ specific campaigns that are still around today. They may vary wildly in size, from ensuring gender neutral toilets in your university to the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the globe, but they are still important to our community, and those involved are all making LGBT+ History.

Having a strong sense of community should not be overlooked in all the political events that surrounded LGBT+ History Month, so you should also seek out socials (for communities that you are a part of) to attend, especially if you have never done so before, this is a great time to do so!

UCL LGBT+ Network is running a number of events for LGBT+ History month, some of which include film screenings for Major! and Being Eden, a discussion around Pride in Sport (UCL’s own campaign around LGBT+ inclusion in sport) and socials for LGBT+ Women, and Bi and Pan people.

LGBT+ History month is important because we must remember what happened in order for us to experience the current place we hold in society today, and to better understand how we can work, how we can shape history, so that LGBT+ can have an even better future. Thank you for reading, and we hope you have a special LGBT+ History Month!