Claiming our past – Celebrating our present – Creating our future
LGBT+ History Month UK is an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary (LGBT+) history that lasts for the full month of February. It provides a chance to consider the evolution of LGBT+ rights and associated civil rights movements. To raise awareness, educate and inform everyone about the LGBT+ community and support our allies.
How did LGBT+ history month start?
The LGBT+ Education charity “Schools Out UK” started the LGBT+ History Month in February 2005 and it is celebrated in February each year since then. The event was first organised by Professor Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, co-chairs of Schools Out UK, as part of a campaign to inform young people about the struggles that the LGBT+ community faces and to support schools in being welcoming to all students, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
In the first year, Sue and Paul had anticipated 15 to 20 events, but 150 to 200 celebrations of LGBT+ history month took place throughout the UK, exceeding their expectations. From that point forward, every February has been designated as LGBT+ History Month in the UK with hundreds of events in organisations, education and businesses to help share awareness, support and celebrate the LGBT+ community.
Why is there an LGBT+ History Month?
The purpose of LGBT+ History month is to promote equality and raise public awareness of the history of the LGBT+ community. In particular as Section 28 did so much damage in Britain by preventing Local Authorities, museums and schools from including any information deemed as “promoting homosexuality” by law, from 1988 to 2003. Effectively making the LGBT+ community invisible in our history, in education and local communities.
According to Professor Sue Sanders, one of the co-founders:
“The ignorance is profound. And the ignorance has been deliberately done. We [the LGBT+ community] have a history, but we have been denied it. It’s great we have the laws in place, it’s great that we’re more visible, but who is visible? It’s white gay men. If you’re black, if you’re a lesbian, if you’re bisexual or if you’re trans – we have a lot of work to do.”
What is the theme of LGBT+ History Month in 2023?
Behind the Lens is the theme for 2023’s LGBTQ+ History Month. The purpose of this theme is to honour the labour of love and the contributions made by LGBT+ people #behindthelens to the creation of film and cinema and in the media. You can find out more about the 2023 theme here.
What distinguishes Pride Month from LGBT+ History Month?
Pride parades, which are outdoor celebrations of LGBT+ acceptance and pride, typically take place during June’s Pride Month. These can occasionally be used to advocate for legal rights like marriage equality. You can read our blog about Pride Month here.
The “Mother of Pride,” Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist, organised the first Pride march in New York City in 1972, to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and created the concept for a week-long celebration of Pride Day, which served as the model for the present-day annual LGBT+ pride celebrations across the world.
How can I support my LGBTQ+ colleagues and learn more about the LGBT+ movement?
- Take a read of Why Leona, COO at Focus7, uses her pronouns.
- Read our blog Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride Month.
- Discover last year Focus7’s LGBTQ+ History Month blog.
Our COO Leona Barr-Jones is an award winning Inclusive Leader and if you want to talk to her about how you can make your business or organisation more Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity aware, please get in touch. You can call us on 01462 262020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for help and guidance on your branding and digital steps.
A successful business owner by age twenty, and with a varied 21-year military career including five years at the MoD on Whitehall, Leona has developed first class leadership and management skills. She has managed the successful implementation of major change programmes both in the UK and worldwide, including on behalf of Transport for London in collaboration with the 2012 Olympics. Leona is also IoD Director of the Year and a Fellow of IoD, CMI, InstLM.