This February marks LGBT History Month which aims to raise awareness and combat prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community.
The event also looks to celebrate the achievements of those within the community and provide more education on LGBTQ+ history in schools.
Each year, a theme is given for the event with this year’s month looking at “Body, Mind, Spirit”, linking it to the national curriculum subject PSHE.
Sue Sanders, the chair of Schools Out UK and founder of LGBT History Month says, “We set up the month to start celebrating. We were sick and tired of being victims and wanted to celebrate. We wanted to celebrate LGBT people and make them visible because we had been lied to by emission for the whole time most of us were at school, we weren’t taught about the LGBT community.
“The whole intention of the month is to make LGBT+ people visible, educate people about the wide range of LGBT+ people around and the enormously wonderful things that our community has done for the population.
“The importance of LGBT history in schools, for me, is absolutely crucial. I don’t think you’re educating kids at school unless they know about the entirety of the population.”
Due to the pandemic, the event has moved online, holding webinars over Zoom and creating videos and resources for children to use in schools.
In Leeds, OUTing the past organised an online event with Leeds Museum and Gallery on 6 February.
The seminars looked at people’s own stories, with talks from Leeds own Katie Robinson and their story of growing up trans in the city. As well as Beth Rees look into asexuality and Abtin Sadeghi presentation of LGBT health and the NHS.
The seminars will be made available to view online, with topics varying from asexuality to growing up transgender in Leeds.
The events are funded by the sale of the organisation’s merchandise, including pin badges, lanyards and fridge magnets.
Their previous event over the summer of 2020 saw 70 different speakers talk about their experiences as part of the LGBT+ community.
Sanders wants people to learn more about the contributions LGBT people have made throughout the years from the events hoping that “The recognition that LGBT people have existed through time. It’s not just a new thing in this century and getting a sense of the wealth of information and knowledge the LGBT community holds.”
Although representation in the media of the LGBT community is much more common than it used to be, Sanders believes more can be done. “There is much more visibility. My problem is that it is still very white and male. We have a lot of work to do to get the full diversity of our population out there in the media.” says Sanders.
LGBT History Month is holding online events until the end of February, looking at everything from LGBT representation in film and television to transgender athletes in sport.