What is LGBTQ+ History Month?
It seems incredibly apt to start a blog about LGBTQ+ History Month with some historical information.
First formed and celebrated in 2005 by Schools OUT co-chairs, Paul Patrick & Professor Emeritus Sue Sanders, LGBTQ+ History Month is an annual celebration held in February to raise awareness and challenge the prejudice faced by the community.
Each year has a theme, with the 2023 theme being #BehindTheLens– LGBTQ+ contribution to film and cinema.
Why is LGBTQ+ History Month Important?
The attitudes to and position of LGBTQ+ within society has evolved over the years. Whilst inequality and hostility can still be a feature of LGBTQ+ peoples day to day lives; rights and protections today are a significant improvement on those of 50 years ago. These rights haven’t appeared by coincidence, they have been the result of individual and collective campaigning and acts of courage to destigmatise, challenge inequality and take up space which was often not forthcoming. LGBTQ+ History Month educates and celebrates this, along with spotlighting the diverse contribution LGBTQ+ people have made to society.
What are the key milestones?
A vast amount has changed, certainly too much to include everything in a blog post. Stonewall has a guide to the key dates for LGBTQ+ equality which is well worth a read.
To provide an sample of the breadth of events covered on the Stonewall LGBTQ+ Timeline:
- 1967: The Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised sex between two men over 21 and ‘in private’.
- 1988- 2003: Section 28 was introduced by UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and was only repealed in 2003. The Act prohibited schools maintained by the local authority from promoting homosexuality, publish material related to homosexuality or teach about homosexuality as an accepted family relationship.
- 1951: The first known changing of a birth certificate in recognition of gender confirming surgery took place.
- 2004: The Civil Partnership Act 2004 was passed in the United Kingdom, giving same-sex couples the same rights and responsibilities as married straight couples.
- 2005: The Adoption and Children Act 2002 came into force allowing unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to apply for joint adoption.
- 2014: The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into force, with the first same-sex marriages in England and Wales taking place on 29 March 2014.
- 1983: The UK’s first national lesbian and gay TV show, One in Five, was shown on Channel 4.
- 1990: The first professional football player, Justin Fashanu comes out as gay. He later dies by suicide.
- 2009: Stonewall conducted the first large-scale study of lesbian and bi women’s health.
- 2011: The Department of Health lifted the lifetime ban on gay and bi men donating blood, although a 12-month celibacy clause was still in place for men who have sex with men to be eligible to donate. There has been further relaxing of the rules in recent years.
- 1961: The Stonewall riots took place in America – they were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBTQ+ community against a police raid on the Stonewall Inn. This key event triggered the modern LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the US and beyond.
- 1972: The first Pride was held in London, attracting approximately 2,000 participants.
- 2020: Religious leaders from every major faith came together in a show of unity to urge the UK government to legislate a ban on conversion therapy.
How can I get involved?
- There are many ways to get involved. One of the best ways is to commit some time over February to educate yourself on some key historical events.
- English Heritage has some useful information on LGBTQ+ history within England
- Channel 4 has a pride collection which has a number of great TV shows on the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community
- King’s also has a number of great events happening over February, and we would love for you to attend.
What is happening at King’s?
There are a number of events held by Proudly King’s, KCLSU and faculties across the institution. A planner of events can be found here.