Friday, 14 March 2008

A Challenge if you would like

LGBT History Month

A Challenge
How many of these questions can you answer?

1 Can you name a famous lesbian on the Radio
2 When and where did LGBT History month first take place?
3 Why do many people feel it is important to celebrate LGBT History Month?
4 Do you know who our first gay MP was?
5 Do you know which Countries still have the death penalty for gay men?
6 Do you know any great lesbians authors from the past?

The answers to all these questions can be found in the following information.


LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. LGBT is frequently used to save our breath when talking about the community and people who identify as LGBT. For sometime LGBT Communities and people were known as homosexual. As many people consider this defines them simply by their sexual practices the use of this word needs caution. The popular symbol of the Rainbow flag encompasses all the LGBT Communities and people under one identifiable symbol. The LGBT communities and people are as diverse as any community here in the UK. They are white, black, etc. Some celebrations of LGBT History Month take the lack of basic information, what does the Rainbow Flag mean, where does the Pink Triangle come from, where does the word GAY come from as their first starting point

In the South West we have a growing sense of the numbers of LGBT People. In any given area it is suggested that 7-12% of people will indentify as LGB or T. There is a growing understanding of devastating effects of homophobia inside and outside school. We would therefore like to make LGBT History Month an opportunity to pay particular focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and culture. Reducing homophobia and the tragic consequences this kind of bullying/discrimination can have on individuals and families.

Homophobic bullying in schools

We have all heard it, in the classroom, in the playground, in the staff room, on the football field the use of the word GAY in a derogatory way. There is a demand on schools to ensure that they prepare pupils for a life in a diverse society. Some schools have been praised for the way they do this. In many however OFSTED have suggested that this is an area for development. Making links with events such as LGBT History Month is one approach that every school can use to address this area of learning.

Famous LGBT People

Many LGBT people living in the UK have achieved great success. LGBT History Month web site gives a list of many of these.

Sir Ian McKellen: Actor and gay rights activist
Ned Sherrin: Radio 4 Bbroadcaster, author and stage director
Amélie Simone Mauresmo: French professional tennis player
Peter Benjamin Mandelson: Politician

The origins of LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month has been celebrated in Wales, Scotland and Britain every February since 2004.
Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month celebrates the lives and achievements of the LGBT community. We are committed to celebrate its diversity and that of the society as a whole. We encourage everyone to see diversity and cultural pluralism as the positive forces that they are and endeavor to reflect this in all we do.
Since 1997 the position of LGBT people has improved as a result of human rights legislation. Section 28 was repealed in 2003.
Now it’s time we began to deal with the legacy of silence. This is not only in the interests of LGBT people but of our whole society. Silence breeds ignorance and distorted imaginings. From these come, at best, embarrassment; at worst, hostility and hate crimes.

Together, we can break through the silence that surrounds the lives of people who do not conform to conventional notions about sexuality and gender. We can help to end the sense of isolation and bewilderment felt by so many LGBT people, particularly the young. We can make bullying unacceptable. We can also help to dispel the anxiety and confused rage that drive some people to aggressive behavior. (Taken from LGBT History web site)

Understanding who we are, through culture and heritage.

Throughout history we can find many examples of people who, for one reason or another, refused to conform to the outward signs of the sex to which they were born. We also find many stories of people who loved their own sex. Some of these people were famous; some of them obscure. Some of them experienced serious persecution; others were luckier. Some are remembered for the contributions they made to our culture and society. Their personal lives are usually suppressed or censored, except in specialist publications.

To understand our present and imagine our future, we must first gain insight into our past. This is true of us as individuals; it is also true of societies. LGBT History Month is a time when we can explore and share some hidden aspects of our country’s past, both recent and remote. This hidden history belongs to all of us; it is part of our inheritance.

A grass-roots initiative

LGBT History Month has been welcomed by the government. However, its origins lie with the grass roots.
The idea came from School’s Out! a campaigning organisation of LGBT people involved in education. They took their inspiration partly from the US, where LGBT History Month has been celebrated since 1994. They also make respectful acknowledgement to the example of Black History Month.
LGBT History Month has grown in the last four years, in many cases there has not been a single organiser which has meant that local authorities, schools, Universities and other organisations have been able to plan events that suit their communities beat. The number of schools in the South West Peninsula celebrating LGBT History Month is minimal at best. During the coming year we hope to offer organisational support to help schools celebrate LGBT History Month.
(Taken from

Questions and Answers

It has been suggested by some that, ‘there aren’t any here’ or that ‘we know our young people.’ To help to explain LGBT History Month and the ideas behind it we have produced some information aimed at young people.

Do we need to celebrate LGBT History Month really?

LGBT History Month is highly relevant to our diverse communities here in the South West Peninsula. An area of growth and development the SW Peninsula has a wealth of LGBT community groups and activities, LGBT Pride events are being held in more areas all the time, displaying the strength of the LGBT people, families and communities as a whole. There is evidence that LGBT young people are among the most likely to experience hate crime attacks inside school. There is also evidence that some Parents who identify as LGBT may have low self esteem and pride in their identity. One example of a parent under going gender reassignment was asked to collect her children from reception rather than the playground like all the other children. One parent was unhappy about taking her partner along to parents evening for fear of discovery of her sexual orientation.

www. uk

LGBT History Month can focus young people’s minds on the achievements of LGBT people locally and nationally. It can give teachers an opportunity to raise the subject of their own sexual orientation safely. See Tes. article:
Q. So what is the Point in celebrating LGBT History Month?
A. To address a better understanding of the achievements of Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

There is a lack of knowledge and recognition of the contributions made by LGBT People in a wide range of fields, science, the Arts, literature, nursing, the military and so the list could go on. Many people know very little about the importance of Alan Turin the code breaker from Bletchley Park or that William Shakespeare is widely considered to have been bisexual.

Over the last ten years there has been a steady change in legislation, allowing Lesbian and gay men to hold a civil partnership, the media is beginning to pick up on LGBT History month with more discussion and historical programs including LGBT awareness. There is still a lot to learn.

Q. What good does it do, celebrating just LGBT History Month?
A. LGBT History Month is just a time when you can focus events and activists, it is not intended to be an isolated event.

There are many opportunities to celebrate, discuss and educate young people on the discoveries, achievements and contributions LGBT people have made throughout the curriculum and school year. If events are linked to curriculum themes they can make a valuable addition to young people learning.
Holocaust memorial Day: January 27th
International Women’s Day: March 8th
International Day Against Homophobia May: 17th
National Reading Year: Various months
International Peace week: June 11th
And there will be more.

Q. What kind of events is being promoted?
A. Take a look at there is a huge variety.

Talks by local LGBT groups, can help you find the right group in your area willing or able to help. This face-to-face contact can reduce some the stereotypes young people have about LGBT people in general.
We have included a few lesson plans which you may find useful.

Q. What if celebrating LGBT History Month does more harm than good?
A. Prejudices can only be reduced when discussed openly in a supportive environment. Celebrating the cultural heritage of LGBT people if handled carefully can increase young people knowledge and learning.

If you would like support in planning or putting on events for LGBT History Month please get in touch.

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