LGBT+ History Month is witnessed in February to coincide with a landmark celebration for LGBT+ people in Britain - the 2003 abolition of Section 28, which was a law in the UK that prevented local authorities and schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’.
The passing of Section 28 in the 1980s was fueled by public outcry, the HIV crisis worsening the stigma against the LGBT+ community and attacks by the right-wing media on any literature that showed gay couples in a positive light. It had a huge impact on student groups, many of which shut down in fear of legal action being taken against them.
In the National LGBT+ survey that over 108,000 UK LGBT+ citizens participated in, participants only rated their life satisfaction at 6.5/10 compared to heterosexual citizens who rated it at 7.7. Transgender people rated their lives at 5.4/10. This year is the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots – a defining series of demonstrations by members of the LGBT+ community in response to a police raid in the United States. Even though this happened 50 years ago, we are now seeing a resurgence of violence against LGBT+ people, with an 80% increase of homophobic attacks in the last 4 years, with a significant proportion of that being against BAME LGBT+ people.
So, it’s both an honour and a privilege that we are able to put on so many amazing events for such an important month, particularly within the context of being LGBT+ in the UK at the moment. We wouldn’t be here today, in a situation where we can be proud of our sexuality and gender, without those who fought for acceptance long before now.
However, it’s important to remember the work towards equality is far from over. We hope months like this give LGBT+ people on campus and beyond a chance to express themselves openly, and celebrate our community and its history. Whether LGBT+ or not, we hope you enjoy all the events in store this month, and show your support however you can! See you there!
Lily (Trans Representative)
Kate (LGBT+ Representative)
Ella (VP Welfare)