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LGBT+ History Month
What is LGBT+ History Month, and why do we celebrate it?
LGBT+ History Month is a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements. In the United Kingdom it is celebrated in February each year, to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 (which prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities).
LGBT+ History Month was initiated in the UK by Schools Out UK and first took place in February 2005. The event is intended to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, LGBT people and history.
There are many reasons why LGBT History Month is important. From school to business, national to global politics, each sector benefits differently from the annual event. LGBT History Month allows us to:
- Remember those across the world who live without rights
- Learn about historic LGBTQ+ figures and events
- Encourage inclusivity and understanding in the workplace
- Remember how far we have come in the fight for equality
- Build a better world for young LGBTQ+ professionals
The theme for 2023 is: Behind the Lens
Behind the Lens will celebrate LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to cinema and film from behind the lens. Directors, cinematographers, screen writers, producers, animators, costume designers, special effects, make up artists, lighting directors, musicians, choreographers and beyond.
How is LGBT+ History Month different from Pride Month?
Although LGBT+ History Month and Pride Month share similar backgrounds, and have the same underlying purpose, they are not the same thing.
LGBT+ History Month recognises the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally. It stemmed as a way to celebrate the impact people specifically from the LGBT+ Community have had throughout history.
Meanwhile, Pride Month is dedicated to the uplifting of LGBTQ voices, celebration of LGBTQ culture and the support of LGBTQ rights. Throughout the month of June, nationwide, there have traditionally been parades, protests, drag performances, live theater and memorials and celebrations of life for members of the community who lost their lives to HIV/AIDS. It is part political activism, and part celebration of all the LGBTQ+ community has achieved over the years. The first Pride, in June 1970, marked the first anniversary since the uprising at New York’s Stonewall Inn. Although it is an important to time to celebrate the progress that has been made across legislation, attitudes and behaviours, it is also a continued protest.
LGBT+ within the arts
Exist Loudly are a London based creative youth organisation dedicated to supporting Black and mixed Black LGBTQ+ youth aged 16-23 through spaces of joy, community and creativity.
Since 2015, AZ Magazine has been equally dedicated to platforming Black and minority ethnic LGBTQ+ voices by covering stories and issues faced by those in the same communities. Reporting on everything from the arts to music, culture, news and fashion, they look for stories that capture every aspect of the community’s culture.
With an increase in zine production and creatives being eager to showcase community talent without big publications, Queer Zine Library are a major helping hand. Described as a “roaming DIY queer library celebrating radical LGBTQIA+ self-publishing,” they collect zines made throughout the UK and tour them, providing access to zines and greater reach for producers. With a focus on showcasing socially-engaged zines, they promote work that goes beyond “art objects which look nice.”
The Newcastle-based not-for-profit is an LGBTQIA+ organisation dedicated to the championing and progression of art and artists throughout the north east of England. Hosting events from cabarets and vogue balls to youth group sessions and LGBTQIA+ awareness training, they are a hub of safety for those in the community and a centre of learning for allies. They also provide opportunities such as residencies and open calls.
With 18 years in the game, Homotopia is a trusted Liverpool-based arts and social justice organisation. Being a space that supports art and activism, they showcase LGBTQIA artists ranging from local to international, who have a passion for socially-engaged art. Running the Homotopia festival, a year long Queer Core artist development programme and Young Homotopia group for those interested in self-expression, they are perfect for those looking for a safe space to develop.
An independent platform, QueerAF look to launch the careers of LGBTQIA+ creatives in media, taking on mentees with a passion for production, journalism and overall content creation. They also have a newsletter and award-winning podcast where they speak on all things queer – all of which help to establish a platform that they believe the media industry should reflect.
Formed in June 2022, QUEERCIRCLE seeks to develop an ecology of artists, curators, writers, thinkers, community organisers, grassroots organisations and charities who collectively work together to reimagine the role cultural spaces play in society.
Their exhibition commissions, archive exhibitions, participatory residencies, learning and workplace opportunities, and health and wellbeing programmes provide holistic support to LGBTQ+ and local communities. But as well as being a home for political art, it is also a place for people to come together, to rest and celebrate the incredible talent of LGBTQ+ people.
An independent production company based in London, Queer Art Projects specialise in organising events, performances, screenings, plays, exhibitions and workshops. Founded by Tuna Erdem and Seda Ergul who have a number of degrees in film, music and other areas of the arts, they are for the progression of the arts for the queer community. Also founding the Instanbul Queer Art Collective, their years of engaging and working with queer artists is reflected in their programming and outreach.
The Queer Arts Consortium (QUAC):
The Queer Arts Consortium (QUAC) is a collaboration between Raze Collective, Fringe! Queer Arts & Film Fest, The Cocoa Butter Club, Queer Youth Art Collective and PRIM.Black. QUAC has been awarded funding through the Elevate programme from Arts Council England, to establish a partnership model of collaboration and shared services.
QUAC seeks to preserve, develop and embolden its partner organisations. In turn participating in the continuing establishment of a thriving Queer Arts sector in the UK, that builds essential community, careers and culture.
“A space where everyone is welcome and no one feels the need to question the way you are, where you can make art freely.”
Now more than ever, it is crucial to establish isolation-fighting creative opportunities for LGBTQIA+ artists, who are already so side-lined in the arts. The chief principal of Sanctuary is development from the ground-up – to truly enact change by cultivating confidence in a younger generation whilst continuing to nurture existing queer voices. The 3 activity strands complement each other, directly implementing this ethos. The hope for Sanctuary Queer Arts is to add solace, stimulation and safety for queer people and allies, moving towards a time when young people will be able to see the world as a safe space.
QUEER|ART is a non-profit arts organization serving a diverse and vibrant community of LGBTQ+ artists across generations and disciplines.
QUEER|ART was launched in 2009 to support a generation of LGBTQ+ artists that lost mentors to the AIDS Crisis of the 1980s. By fostering the confident expression of LGBTQ+ artists’ perspectives, stories, and identities, Queer|Art amplifies the voice of a population that has been historically suppressed, disenfranchised, and often overlooked by traditional institutional and economic support systems. Its programmes are organised under three major areas of support — PRACTICE (Creative and Professional Development), PRESENTS (Events, Exhibitions, and other Public Presentations), and AWARDS (Residencies, Grants, and Prizes). Each of these areas of support operate across four fields of creative practice: Film, Performance, Visual Art, and Literature.
LGBT History Month Speakers for 2023 Events:
- Gareth Thomas – Rugby Legend Named the Most Influential Gay Person in the UK By The Independent
- Inga Beale – Named on the OUTstanding LGBT Power List & Lloyd’s of London’s 1st Female CEO
- Jake & Hannah Graf – First Transgender Couple in the UK to have a Baby
- Katie Neeves – Founder of Cool2BTrans & Award-Winning Photographer
- Nicola Adams – First Openly LGBT Person to Win an Olympic Boxing Gold Medal
Queer Art: 1960s to the Present – Art History Teaching Resources (AHTR) have published this article on Queer Art history over the past 60 years.
The Tate Exhibitions – This page from The Tate features interviews, artist profiles, artwork and quotes surrounding the world of Queer art.
The LGBT+ History Month 2023 Film Series at the Cinema Museum London – You can find the schedule and buy tickets here for the showing of films directed by LGBTQ+ filmmakers as part of the 2023 theme, Behind the Lens.
LGBT+ History Month Events Schedule – You can find the full schedule of events planned across the country in co-ordination with LGBT+ History Month here.