In the U.K., LGBT+ History Month in February is an annual month-long observation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history. The theme for this year is Art In Politics – The Arc is Long. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride March in Britain. The month is a celebration of the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements. It aims to strengthen the community and provide role models while also being a statement about the contributions of the LGBT+ community to society.
History of LGBT+ History Month
So when did LGBT+ History Month become official? Well, it was started in 1994 by a high-school history teacher from Missouri — Rodney Wilson. Now, nearly three decades later, the celebration can be seen in countries all around the world – U.S., U.K., Australia, Canada, Brazil, Greenland, Hungary, and Berlin. The month was initiated in the U.K. in February 2005 by Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, the co-chairs of Schools OUT U.K.
In the U.K. as well as Hungary, it is observed during February. In the U.S., Canada, and Australia, it is celebrated in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on October 11. It also commemorates the first and second marches for LGBT rights in Washington in 1979 and 1987. In Berlin, it is celebrated in May in the form of Queer History Month.
Over the years, it has gained support all around the world and across various mediums too. LinkedIn was full of events, while BBC’s platforms supported the month almost every day with its LGBT+ specific content, which happens to be a first for them. The organizer of LGBT+ History Month in the U.K. hosts over 150 events throughout the whole year. Schools Out U.K. celebrated over 45 years of campaigning for LGBT+ inclusion, and local radio also picked up the topic for the month.
The month aims to increase the visibility of LGBT+ people, their history, lives, and experiences. Awareness and education need to be raised on LGBT+ matters so that all institutions can be considered safe spaces for the community. By promoting their welfare and ensuring the education system recognizes and enables them to achieve their full potential, they can contribute fully to society and lead fulfilling lives, hence benefiting society.
LGBT+ History Month timeline
The first march for LGBT rights takes place in Washington this year.
In the U.S., National Coming Out Day is celebrated on October 11.
A high-school history teacher from Missouri, Rodney Wilson, establishes the history month.
On November 18, Section 28 is abolished in the U.K.
he U.K. version of the history month is initiated in February this year.
LGBT+ History Month FAQs
Do schools teach LGBT+?
Sex education on LGBT+ is not covered in too many schools as of now. Where it is covered, students deemed it to not be effective.
What does ‘Q’ mean in LGBTQ+?
‘Q’ stands for ‘Queer’ or ‘Questioning.’ Though queer may be considered a specific identity, it is often touted as an umbrella term for anyone who is non-cisgender or heterosexual.
What is it called when you have no gender?
People whose gender is not considered male or female often describe themselves to be non-binary. Other terms include genderqueer, agender, bigender, e.t.c.
How To Observe LGBT+ History Month
Support Schools OUT U.K.
Financially support Schools OUT U.K., the initiators of the month. By simply buying their badge and lanyards, you are contributing to their main source of finance so that your donations can help provide LGBT+ resources, training, and services to institutions.
Support the community
Support the protagonists of the month, the LGBT+ community itself. This includes educating yourself and being more accepting.
Support them further
If you want to further support them and their rights, join in on the celebrations! These include participating in pride parades, parties, picnics, as well as concerts, and workshops.
5 Important Facts About LGBT+
Mother of Pride
Before passing away in 2003, the bisexual Brenda Howard was considered the Mother of Pride for being one of the community's leading voices.
Flags of pride
The rainbow flags we all know today first appeared in 1970, thanks to Harvey Milk and Gilbert Baker.
Bill Clinton was the first U.S. president to officially recognize Pride Month, followed by Barack Obama.
Sadly, 42% of LGBT+ people admitted to living in an unwelcoming environment.
About 90% of LGBT+ teens have been able to come out to their close friends.
Why LGBT+ History Month Is Important
They deserve more
They have been fighting for their rights for decades now, and many have suffered to align the way. Can you imagine how much more the gay genius Alan Turing would have contributed to society had he not been abused by the government for his orientation?
Not just about them
Yes, the month may be about them, but from a core point of view, it is not just about LGBT+. It is about accepting those who are different from us and about encouraging tolerance through understanding.
Happy and gay
Thanks to awareness initiatives like the history month, 92% of LGBT adults said they believe society is more accepting of them now, compared to a decade ago. The ones who came out to their families reported feeling happier than those who weren’t.
LGBT+ History Month dates