LGBT+ History Month is one of the most important cultural landmarks in the historical calendar. It provides a time and space for LGBT+ historical figures, events and cultures to be recognised when they have historically been removed from history through the heteronormativity of both the education system and the establishment. Yes, things are improving, and queer history is being recognised more and more, but there is still a long way to go, and this month does a lot to aid the cause. By making the month a well-recognised event you increase the chances of educating individuals and decreasing the stigma around queer culture as being only for queer people. Also, there is a lot to fix, the embargo on the teaching of LGBT+ culture and history by Section 28 lasted ten years and was only repealed in 2003. Section 28 made the topic of LGBT+ culture and history a major taboo in school, and the effects of this can still be seen today with little to no queer history being taught in school, even events that where major at the time in the UK such as the LGBT+ influence in the miners' strikes in 1984.
Furthermore, now that the UK is arguably more accepting of LGBT+ people, there is a certain atmosphere of shame surrounding queer history, as quite a lot of it is the persecution of the community. This month must be used to celebrate the strides we have made in LGBT+ rights, but it must also be used to acknowledge where we have come from and the issues we once faced. This means that the bad must be recognised alongside the good, to make sure that we continue to fight for what is right. While cis white gays might feel like they have what they need in terms of acceptance, many in the community still face horrific amounts of persecution, and it is our duty to support them just as they have supported us, and this month acts as a much needed reminder for many people that we would not be where we are today without the efforts of the entire community.
Therefore, it is crucial that events taking place this month recognise the continuing struggle of much of the community. Many LGBT+ History Month events ignore trans, non-binary and intersex people and key historical events that have affected them. As well as this, there is a huge amount of white washing in LGBT+ History Month, and in a community which has a massive issue with racism, it is fundamental that we highlight the history of people of colour in the LGBT+ community.
We have a range of events coming up this month, and some even after the month as we struggled to fit them all in!
We are also planning to host a film viewing of Moonlight with Women of Colour Collective, as well as organising a visit from Black Pride UK, a charity event for queer refugees with Refugee Society, as well as Zine making and the return of Queeries.
It is exceptionally important to have a wide range of events for LGBT+ History Month, not only to cater to the wide range of people within the community but also to educate those within the community about different parts of it and to educate allies beyond the typical LGBT+ History Month events.
Needless to say, the LGBT+ community is made up of a vast array of individuals with wildly different interests, which is why we have done our best to incorporate as many different societies as possible. While the idea of talking about LGBT+ representation in video games might seem trivial to some, to queer people that have grown up playing video games and have it make up a large part of their life, it could be a huge deal to see their sexuality or identity portrayed in video games. To show people that LGBT+ history is everyone’s history as it can be tied into virtually every walk of life.
As a society we are always looking for new people to get involved in events. Everything from helping us organise events, to attending, to sharing and liking our posts online. All of these things help us out. We have society memberships available through the SU website. We update our members of our events through email and Facebook, and as well as this, members receive deals on entry prices for our paid for events.
Although we like to make the majority of our events free, buying a membership to help us run these events really goes a long way.
Registered charity no: 1141998
The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
Egham, TW20 0EX