LGBT History Month

Because this is a pro-LGBT+ blog, I felt it was important to write a post or two to celebrate LGBT History Month, which is celebrated in February in the UK. LGBT History Month is such an influential time, especially for those who identify themselves as part of the community. It's not always easy being truthful to who you are, and sometimes you lose friends or loved ones because of their outdated views of the world, but LGBT History Month inspires the community to remember they're not alone. The Pride Parades also give them that sense of family, but this is on a far more subtle scale. With LGBT History Month there's also the knowledge that LGBT people have impacted the world, changed the course of history in many cases. 

Alan Turing broke the Enigma Code. Harvey Milk was one of the first openly gay men elected to public office. Lili Elbe was the first trans woman to receive what would be recognized today as gender reassignment surgery. Josephine Baker was the first black woman to star in a major motion picture, and she was bisexual. Their sexual or gender identity did not define these figures; their bravery does. 

'Schools Out' is a charity here in the UK which has been campaigning since 1974 for LGBT education in schools. Their curriculum is tailored to increase LGBT awareness, to get young people to understand what each of the letters mean, get them to understand the lives and culture of the community. It answers questions, promotes inclusion and welfare, and strips back any need for homophobia. My school never taught anything like this, and that's all to do with the backward views of the country where I grew up. It's such a shame, because the people I went to school with grew up not knowing about the LGBT cause, had no understanding that their apathy or hatred was outdated and unnecessary. A program like 'Schools Out' could have made them better people, prepared them more for a world outside Northern Ireland. I highly suggest you look on their website, read up on their events this month and see some of their resources. They have this fantastic printable poster called 'Voices and Visability: Uncovering Hidden Histories' (http://www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/resources/Wall%20Chart%20A0_V7.2.pdf for anyone that wants to have a read), that gives you an easy-to-follow legal timeline of the LGBT cause. It shows the sad truth that so many of LGBT rights were granted recently, that they've suffered for so long at the hands of powerful people who just didn't understand. You'll also notice Northern Ireland is the only country left in the UK that hasn't legalised gay marriage yet. This is due to a corrupt political system and people in power having no grasp of the knowledge these are people's lives they're playing with. The childish acts of hatred and discrimination from the DUP on this issue, and so much of the country in general, really do make me ashamed of where I'm from. 


Education is one of the most important views of 'normalising' the LGBT cause for the world, but visibility is also key. Seeing LGBT characters on TV, in films, portrayed in a way that isn't homophobic, is significant in promoting acceptance. Seeing LGBT celebrities pushes them to accept the world is made up of lots of different genders and sexualities. Seeing LGBT characters, reading about them, proves there's nothing to be afraid of. It means the world to my best friend, who identifies as gay, that he can go into a book shop and find a book in the young adult section that has an LGBT character, one that isn't simply there to provide comedic effect or pointed quips. The other day I was in Foyles in Soho, and they have an LGBT section. It's not that big, yet, but it's a step in the right direction that it exists, that these books have been written. 

If you know anyone that identifies as LGBT, and I'm sure you do, I recommend taking some time this month and doing some research into the history of the cause. It's absolutely fascinating, but rather painful sometimes as humanity has made so many wrong steps regarding these issues. Please, do remember to keep an open mind, because if you're lucky enough for someone, of any gender or sexual preference, has deemed you important enough to have in their lives, you need to treat that trust with respect. 



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