- When did LGBTQ+ History Month start and who started it?
- Who are some iconic LGBTQ+ people from the UK?
The LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and all the other gender identities and sexual orientations) community has a lot to celebrate this month! Not only is it LGBT+ History Month, but it’s also the 50th anniversary of the first official Pride event in the UK which took place in London on 1st July 1972.
Read on to discover when LGBT+ History Month started in the UK, who started it and who are some of the UK’s most iconic LGBTQ+ people.
When did LGBTQ+ History Month start and who started it?
Observed at different times of the year all over the world – in the US and Canada, it’s October – LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in February in the UK.
Prominent LGBTQ+ activists and teachers, Sue Sanders and, the now late, Paul Patrick, started LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK in 2005 as part of Schools Out UK, a charity that prides itself on striving to make schools and educational institutions safe spaces for LGBTQ+ communities.
LGBT+ History Month is honoured in February because this coincides with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act, a piece of legislation introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government that prohibited the following: "(a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."
Each artist represents the L, G, B, T and ‘+’ and has "used their talents for "political" ends, or expressed their orientation through their work"; these artists are Keith Haring, Doris Brabham Hatt, Fiore de Henriquez, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Mark Aguhar.
Here are some ways to teach your child about LGBT+ history.
Who are some iconic LGBT+ people from the UK?
One of the best-selling music artists of all time, Elton John came out as bisexual in 1976 during an interview with Rolling Stone magazine. Later, in 1992, he stated he was gay. He married his husband, David Furnish, in 2014 after gay marriage became legal in the UK and they now have two sons, Zachary and Elijah.
In 2021, Elton John was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour by Prince Charles for his illustrious career in music and his AIDS-focused charity work, especially for his own charity, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF).
Carol Ann Duffy
One of the most significant names in contemporary British poetry, Scottish poet Carol Ann Duffy became the first openly LGBT+ Poet Laureate in 2009.
Duffy’s works are often studied in school, especially at GCSE level, and her wondrous poetry collections have earned highly-respected accolades: Rapture (2005) won the T.S. Eliot Prize, and The Bees (2011) won the Costa Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
When Duffy’s not launching award-winning poems, she’s the professor of contemporary poetry and the creative director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University.
You may be familiar with the life of Alan Turing from the movie, The Imitation Game, upon which the life of Turing is based.
Besides his outstanding mathematical abilities and pivotal part in the victory over Nazi Germany in World War 2, Turing is also well-known for his personal life. He was arrested in 1952 after it was discovered he was in a relationship with a man (it was illegal to be gay in the UK at this time).
Instead of going to prison, Turing agreed to undergo medical treatment in a bid to get rid of his romantic desires.
Unfortunately, he lost his job because of his criminal records and took his own life in 1954 after becoming depressed.
In 2013, Turing was posthumously pardoned for his ‘crimes’ and in 2017, the UK government pardoned all men who had been accused of similar ‘crimes’ and their criminal records were erased. This pardoning is now known as the Alan Turing Law.
Cara Delevingne initially became famous as a model and has walked the runway for iconic brands such as Burberry and Chanel; she’s also been on the cover of Vogue magazine five times. Since then, she has gone onto star in several Hollywood films, including Paper Towns and Suicide Squad.
In 2015, Delevingne revealed she was bisexual and has since disclosed she may also be pansexual. In 2021, during a podcast, she said: "The way I define myself still changes all the time, whether it’s pansexual, bisexual – I don’t really know. It’s like a pendulum swinging, but almost now I feel far more comfortable being bisexual than I used to."
In February 2018, Delevingne closed Burberry’s Autumn 2018 runway show wearing a rainbow-coloured cape as a tribute to the brand’s dedication to LGBTQ+ youth.
Want to teach your child more about the LGBTQ+ community and movement? Discover some of the best inclusive books out there.