About the event
LGBT+ History Month is a time to celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of the LGBT+ community throughout history. It is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the ongoing struggles for equality and acceptance that the LGBT+ community continues to face.
The day was first held in the UK in 2005 by the Schools Out UK group which campaigns for schools to be safe and accepting places for LGBT+ people. The month of February was chosen to mark the month in which Section 28, a law that prevented the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, was abolished in 2003. According to Schools Out UK the aims of this week are:
- 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
- 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.
How to approach it
As you will know, this topic must be approached with care given that you may have students in your class who are LGBTQ+, visible or otherwise. Pride month is simultaneously a month of celebration and of awareness raising. Students should be encouraged to think about both of these aspects.
In terms of celebration, it's always useful to share examples of past famous LGBTQ+ people. Through this we can show that gay people have always been a part of our societies and their contribution should be celebrated as such. When sharing these stories be sure to find a diverse list including men, women, people of colour, trans people and any other aspects of the LGBTQ+ community you can find. At the same time, it’s important to discuss with students that LGBTQ+ people don’t have to be famous or successful in order to be celebrated. Show students that there are millions of LGBTQ+ people in the UK and around the world.
In terms of awareness raising, aim to contrast the historical treatment of LGBTQ+ people with their treatment now. Ask: Has anything gotten better? What continues to be an issue? You could show for example that, in the UK, the infamous Section 28 laws which intentionally limited the funding of LGBTQ+ community groups were only repealed in 2003. Finish up with a discussion on what we can all do to create an accepting, open environment that allows all genders and sexualities to flourish.
LGBT+ people have existed throughout history. See if you can research a historical figure that was LGBT+ today. What was different about their life and experiences to yours? What was similar? How were they treated compared to you?