The Student Pocket Guide | LGBT History Month
By Hardeep Kaur
Every February, Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) History Month takes place in order to raise awareness and combat prejudice against the LGBT community, as well as creating an appreciation for the history and achievements of the gay and civil rights movements. With LGBT History Month in full swing, The Student Pocket Guide took to the streets to find out what LGBT month means to students across the country…
“I appreciate that there’s a month dedicated to it,” said Joe from Birmingham. “Anything to show support for suppressed or once suppressed subcultures is generally a good thing.” Emily from Leicester noted how LGBT month can be used as a point of reference, to see how far we have come and how much more progress needs to be made in terms of combating prejudice. “I like the fact there is a month dedicated to it and that we have progressed so far in society so quickly.”
Here in the UK, LGBT history month takes place in February to coincide with the anniversary of the abolition of Section 28 which prohibited schools from discussing LGBT issues with young people. Although LGBT raises awareness, a common point of view is that it doesn’t necessarily combat prejudice. “In order for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender to be accepted and seen as normal, dedicating a single month isn’t going to help. It’s just like black history month; we should appreciate the LGBT community all year round,” said Zak from Plymouth.
In a statement released earlier this month, Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson, said: “It’s important that workplaces strive to promote a working environment that motivates, supports and draws on the talents of all its employees – and LGBT History Month is an important opportunity to recognise and celebrate the contribution that LGB&T people make to all aspects of society.”
Zac from Milton Keynes, a supporter and follower of LGBT history month said: “On one hand, it’s important to educate about minorities and oppressed people; the fact that homosexuality was illegal in the UK, and that many civil rights we all take for granted weren’t actually given to homosexuals until very recently. It’s disappointing how many LGBT individuals have little or no idea about their own history. They don’t know about Stonewall, Matthew Shepard, Oscar Wilde etc, yet they’re there taking all their gay bars and civil liberties as if it was just handed to them.”
“However, one the other hand, when is Straight History Month? When do we have White History Month, or Christian History Month? They don’t exist, because their history is taught in schools. I think you and I both had one hour in our entire school career that spoke about homosexuality. The simple fact that LGBT History needs to have its own month in order to be taught goes to show how much work we as an LGBT Liberation movement still have to go. We’re still very much segregated, we’re still very much ignored, and we’re still not equal.”
Despite common-sense beliefs LGBT month is important for people who are involved, lgbthistorymonth.org.uk keeps people updated with latest news and events, reminding us that we still have a long way to go before LGBT is fully accepted all over the world. The LGBT history month website helps to create equality in schools and provides resources such as music books and films.