Celebrating LGBT+ History Month: A Look at the Past, Present, and Future
Celebrate LGBT+ Achievements During History Month: Learning About the History of the LGBT+ Community
LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration of the lives and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and other gender non-conforming individuals. This month-long event is a powerful opportunity to recognise the struggles and achievements of the LGBT+ community throughout history.
“LGBT history gave me self-confidence as a gay person and strengthened my resolve to live, as best I could, an honest, open and integrated life.“ – Rodney Wilson – Educator and Founder of LGBT History Month
LGBT+ History Month began in 1994 when historian Rodney Wilson proposed a national “Gay & Lesbian History Month” at a meeting of educators in Missouri. Nine years later, Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, then co-founders of Schools OUT, initiated the month-long celebration here in the UK.
Since then, it has grown into an international event that celebrates diversity and inclusion with events ranging from festivals with live music performances to educational seminars on topics such as gender identity or sexual orientation discrimination. Film screenings featuring stories about queer characters or documentaries highlighting important figures from LGBT+ history.
At its core, LGBT+ History Month is an opportunity for everyone to learn more about this community’s past struggles and successes while also honouring its present members who continue to fight for equality today.
It’s a time to celebrate the progress made for LGBT+ rights while remembering those who have fought for justice. In recent years, the UK has made significant strides in terms of legal rights and social acceptance; same-sex marriage has been legally recognised since 2014, and the Gender Recognition Act was amended to make it easier for transgender people to gain legal recognition. The UK banned conversion therapy, specifically for lesbian, gay and bisexual people, although not for others under the LGBT+ umbrella.
Advancing Trans Rights: The Need for Inclusivity and Equality in Modern Britain
On October 4th 2022, The Justice Secretary declared their intention to revamp British regulations on the placement of transgender inmates; as per these changes, transgender women with male genitalia or those convicted of sexual offences should no longer be held in general female prisons unless there are exceptional circumstances. This will constitute a strong presumption, but Ministers may evaluate exemptions on a case-by-case basis; however, only extraordinary cases will be considered.
In January 2023, however, The UK Government’s decision to end reciprocal recognition of Gender Recognition Certificates (GRCs) from countries that support trans people changing their legal gender using self-determination models was reported by Stonewall UK – this move serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ rights which goes against modern Britain’s inclusive values and harms our international reputation as an open society.
We must continue advocating for Trans rights so everyone can live without fear of discrimination or harassment – working together towards true acceptance worldwide.
No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” – Marsha P. Johnson
Contributions of LGBT+ Women and Non-Binary People Throughout History:
• Marsha P. Johnson – a Black transgender activist and self-identified drag queen who was a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969 • Sylvia Rivera – a Latina transgender activist and one of the first street queens in New York City
• Audre Lorde – an African American lesbian poet, writer, and civil rights activist
• Eleanor Roosevelt – an American politician, diplomat, and First Lady who was outspokenly supportive of LGBT+ rights
Pioneering Achievements of LGBT+ Women and Non-Binary People in 2023:
• Laverne Cox – an American actress and transgender rights activist
• Janelle Monae – an American singer, songwriter, and actress who identifies as pansexual
• Jazz Jennings – an American transgender activist and television personality
• Munroe Bergdorf – a British model, DJ, and LGBT+ activist
• Paris Lees – a transgender activist and journalist
• Baroness Hunt of Bethnal Green (Ruth Hunt) – Member of the House of Lords of the United Kingdom and the first openly lesbian CEO of LGBT charity Stonewall
• Amrou Al-Kadhi – a non-binary writer, director, actor, and drag artist
• Sarah Garrett MBE – an LGBT+ rights campaigner and founder of the Diversity Role Models charity
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