The Origins of LGBT History Month
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Trans History Month takes place every year in February in the UK. It began, however, in the USA where it is observed in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on 11th October and to commemorate the first march on Washington by the LGBT community in 1979.
LGBT History Month was first celebrated in the USA in 1994. It was founded by a Missouri history teacher Rodney Wilson. Other organisations including the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) helped to coordinate and promote it almost from its inception.
In 1995 the National Education Association offered support of what was then Lesbian and Gay History Month as well as other history months at its General Assembly. The Committee soon added Bisexual and finally Transgender creating the LGBT History Month we now have today. Two US Presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have been explicit and public in their support.
LGBT History Month in the United Kingdom
LGBT History Month was adopted in the UK by Sue Sanders of Schools Out in February 2005. The event came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 which had legislated that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".
Sponsors have included Southwark Council, the Metropolitan Police Service, the Metropolitan Police Authority, Amnesty International and the Crown Prosecution Service. Launches have taken place at significant public venues including the Tate Modern, the Metropolitan Police's Empress State Building, TUC Congress House and the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.
It has attracted strong support from well known personalities and speakers including: Ian McKellen, Stella Duffy, Cyril Nri, Allan Horsfall, Linda Bellos, Baroness Scotland and Barbara Follett. In 2009, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown hosted a reception at Downing Street.
The first celebration of LGBT History Month in 2005 saw over 150 events around the UK. In 2011-12 the national theme was LGBT and Sport, whilst in Norfolk the theme was role models. In 2013 it is dedicated to Maths, science and engineering.
More from the national LGBT History Month website.
LGBT History Month in Norfolk
Since 2009 we've been promoting LGBT History Month in Norwich & Norfolk.
In 2010 we had over 40 events, one on every day of the month - the first time this had been done. In 2010 there was a strong emphasis on the Football Against Homophobia / Justin Campaign, named after the black and first openly gay local footballer Justin Fashanu who took his own life in 1998.
In 2011 we again had events on every day, numbering over 60 and held a successful lecture series at the UEA, over 20 events at the Catherine Wheel and Norwich Pride with the Tate Modern put on Art with a Capital Q in the Forum Curve. In addition we liased with the Police to encourage hate crime awareness and held two community interaction events about LGBT hate crime and its reporting.
February 2012 we had some 30 or so events.
Contact us with your ideas or if you would like to get involved, this year or next.
*LGBT is an inclusive term representing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans(gender).
It also includes other groups relating to sexual orientation or gender identity including Intersex, Queer and more.