LGBT+ History Month is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It was founded in the USA in 1994 by a high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson from Missouri.

In the UK, LGBT+ History Month provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community, and as in previous years it's linked to a school National Curriculum subject.

Schools OUT UK - The LGBT+ Education Charity is the founding organiser of LGBT+ History Month UK and their overarching goal is to make our schools and educational institutions safe spaces for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities as teachers, students, parents, staff and governors.

UK LGBT+ History Month was created to:

  • claim our past
  • celebrate our present
  • create our future
They want to create a dedicated opportunity to share the rich and diverse history of LGBT+ people so everyone can learn more. It' s intended to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against the LGBT community while celebrating its achievement and diversity and making it more visible.
The UK LGBT+ history month takes place every February so that it coincides with the anniversary of the abolition of Section 28 in 2003.

Section 28 was part of the Local Government Act 1988, brought in by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Government. This new law stated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".

The resultant effect of this was teachers and other school staff became fearful of doing what they knew and felt to be the right thing. This fear was further exacerbated by some factions of society and the media through misrepresentation, which in turn meant that same-gender relationships were simply not discussed or visible in our schools.

Of course lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have always existed in the world and, therefore, in our classrooms. However, because of this law, they did not see themselves reflected in the education they were receiving and did not have the language to describe their own experiences.

The cruel legislation was singly responsible for the bullying of many young children in school, whether they were gay, or just thought to be gay. It claimed the lives of many young people, particularly young men, who committed suicide as a result of them realising they were gay and them being unable to face the prejudice of their every day lives. It gave bigots and thugs all the excuses they needed to verbally and physically attack LGBTQ+ people, in particular young people. It saw vulnerable teenagers being made homeless, by families who'd thrown them out of the family home.

Section 28 was abolished by Tony Blair's Labour Government in 2003, and more than twenty years on from this, we find ourselves moving increasingly towards the right side of history. For many more schools than ever before, positive and inclusive education around lesbian, gay and bisexual lives and identities is just part and parcel of teaching all students about the world they actually live in. Furthermore, we’re learning to embrace lesbian, gay and bisexual young people as valued, included and visible, simply part of the rich diversity of any (school) community, with more freedom than ever to explore this element of who they are.

The UK 2024 LGBT+ History Month theme is: Medicine – #UnderTheScope.

The theme celebrates LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to the field of Medicine and Healthcare both historically and today. They will showcase the amazing work of LGBT+ staff across the NHS and in other healthcare settings, in providing people healthcare, especially during the pandemic.

LGBT+ History Month 2024 badge.
During this month they will also be shining a light on the history of the LGBT+ community’s experience of receiving healthcare in the UK, which has proved to be sporadic and inconsistant, leaving some LGBT+ people to face prejudicial health inequalities even today.

At a time when the LGBT+ community is experiencing a rise in hate crime and hate instances they will also encourage you to look ‘Under the Scope’ and listen to a variety of lived experiences from LGBT+ people.

Amongst the events in this year's LGBT+ History Month are:

  • A screening of Call Me by Your Name the film that chronicles the romance between teenager Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and a strapping young American grad student (Armie Hammer) working with Elio’s archaeologist father. The film garnered four Oscar nominations, including best picture and best actor for Timothée Chalamet, the third youngest in the category at age 22;
  • A FREE LGBTQ+ tour of the Northern Ireland War Memorial Museum. From the Blitz to the American presence, the tour will explore how issues of sexuality and gender impacted on life during the Second World War;
  • A LGBT+ History Month display at Surrey History Centre. Surrey has a rich and important LGBTQ+ history and the collections at Surrey History Centre reveal stories from 18th century punishment to 21st century Pride. Come and discover more with a free display celebrating stories from Surrey’s past and present;
  • A Free LGBTQ+ History of London Tour of London. Weaving through the streets of London’s West End, you will learn about pioneering drag queens from the 1700’s, secret gay soirées of the 1920’s, and the infamous development of Soho, one of the world’s best loved queer neighbourhoods.
There are an extraordinary number of LGBT+ History Month events this year and full details of all of them can be found in the History Month Calendar.

One of many Facebook items for LGBT+ HM 2024.

The overall aim of LGBT+ History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. This is done by:

  • Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT+”) people, their history, lives and their experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community;
  • Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBT+ community;
  • Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT+ communities; and
  • Promoting 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, thus benefiting society as a whole.

The Modern Pride Flag.
LGBT History Month is marked every February by schools, colleges and various teaching organisations across the country, who seek to increase people's awareness of the LGBT+ community through education. The fact that so many young people nationwide take part shows just how vital it is.
Many different organisations are holding events to acknowledge LGBT+ Hostory Month and honour the history of the LGBT+ community, including educational talks, virtual art exhibitions, film screenings and readings in many venues throughout the UK.

You can find out more on the LGBT+ History Month website, where there's information and some downloadable presentations, webinars and videos exploring many aspects of UK and International LGBT+ history.


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