LGBT+ History Month 2021
What is LGBT+ History Month?
LGBT+ History Month is a month-long celebration of the LGBT+ community. It first started in America in 1994 and the UK followed suit 11 years after in 2005. This is an annual event which occurs throughout February in the UK, coinciding with the anniversary of the abolition of Section 28 – a Local Government Act which prohibited the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities.
The organisation Schools OUT UK initiated the month-long celebration to raise awareness for LGBT+ rights and make schools a safe space for LGBT+ students. While this was the beginning, LGBT+ History Month has broadened into an awareness month for all, even outside of schools.
While it celebrates the community, LGBT+ History Month also aims to:
- Increase the visibility of LGBT+ people, their history and experiences.
- Raise awareness on issues affecting the LGBT+ community.
- Make schools, workplaces and other institutions safe spaces.
- Promote the welfare of LGBT+ people.
Each year follows a theme, and the theme of LGBT+ History Month 2021 is Body, Mind & Spirit. The theme is usually related to the National Curriculum for England and Wales, and this year the related topic stems from PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education). There are also five faces of the month who are specially selected because they embody this theme.
Who is the face of LGBT+ month?
One of the faces of LGBT+ month for 2021 is Mark Ashton, who was featured in the award-winning 2014 film Pride. Mark Ashton strongly embodies the theme of this year’s LGBT+ History Month. He was a prominent activist during the time of the Miner’s Strike and founded Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) in 1984.
LGSM raised over £22,500 for mining families who were on strike. They put on many fundraising events which raised money to support the miners. Their hard work forged a connection between the LGBT+ community and British labour groups.
As a result of the prominent activism by Mark Ashton and LGSM, gay rights were put onto the agenda at the 1985 Labour party conference. This played a vital role in improving the acceptance of homosexuality, progressive legislation like civil partnerships and repealing Section 28.
You can read more about the five faces of LGBT+ History Month 2021 on the British Library website. The other faces of the month include Maya Angelou, Michael Dillon, Lily Parr and Mark Weston.