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05 February 2019

LGBT History Month

We're supporting LGBT History Month taking place throughout February.

Friday 1 February marked the beginning of LGBT History Month, aiming to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who are affected by the negative attitudes and stereotypes that are still prevalent in our society today.

This year the theme is ‘Peace, Activism and Reconciliation’, with a campaign that’s aiming to:

  • Increase the visibility of LGBT people, their history, lives and their experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community.
  • Raise awareness and advance education on matters affecting the LGBT community.
  • Work to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT communities.
  • Promote the welfare of LGBT people, by ensuring that the education system recognises and enables LGBT people to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives.

Oliver Morris, Housing Apprentice, tells us more about why LGBT History Month is important to him: “If I were able to meet myself from this time last year and tell him that he’d be where he is now, I know he’d never believe me. Healthier, happier, about to begin my transition and safely away from all the things in my life that were dragging me down into what felt like a bottomless pit.

“Unfortunately, for most trans people this is not their reality. Many of them are stuck where I was six months ago; desperate, hopeless, depressed and often, suicidal. In 2016, an LGBT night club in Florida was attacked leading to 49 casualties and leaving 53 severely wounded. The effects of this continue to be felt by the LGBT community and its allies around the world. Many people believe we “don’t have it that bad these days” or that “everyone is so tolerant and accepting now”, but events like this prove we have a long way to go before we achieve anything like that level of safety.

“Without the LGBT rights movement and events such as the Stonewall Riots, people like me wouldn’t be able to be in the position I’m in. Although I do still face harassment on a near-daily basis (mostly in public and online) there are legal protections for me now, and I’m able to safely medically transition, legally change my name and gender and use facilities which match my identity. I know that, in this country at least, I’ll never be denied housing or medical treatment, be imprisoned or lose my job for being who I am, but the reality is this is still not the case for many LGBT people around the world.

“To me, LGBT History Month is about remembering those who’ve fought, and continue to fight, for the rights of LGBT people around the world, those who’ve lost their lives for being themselves, those denied treatment for AIDs because of their sexuality, and all those victimised for their identities. It is, however, also about celebrating the lives and hard work of these people, of heroes like Marsha P Johnson who paved the way for future generations or LGBT people, and to always remain hopeful for a brighter future. Acceptance is growing, and in remembering the atrocities faced by LGBT people of the past we are reminded of the importance of acceptance, understanding and awareness.

“I hope that one day, there is no LGBT History Month, that our history is remembered alongside everyone else’s, and held in just as high regard as it deserves, as we deserve, but for now, I’m proud to remember the LGBT brothers, sisters and siblings we’ve lost, to carry on their legacy and to stand with the LGBT community of today so we can all continue to lift each other up, and not only survive but thrive.”