Blog: It's almost LGBTQ+ History Month!
Written by Student Content Shaper Caitlin Whelan
It's almost LGBTQ+ History Month this February. This month is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how far the LGBTQ+ community has come and where it can still go. As an LGBTQ+ Student Content Shaper, I’d love to talk to you about it.
February serves as a poignant reminder to honour the trailblazing activists who paved the way for an inclusive society for us. Although we can celebrate how far LGBTQ+ rights have come, it’s still important to raise awareness for the battle still ongoing. Barbra Gittings, a prominent LGBTQ+ activist, sums up the month perfectly for me: “Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”
Ms Gittings is very wise! There is always work to be done. I'm grateful for the level of acceptance in society as it's not the same everywhere. There needs to be further work within communities for further acceptance for everybody. That’s why this month is important to me because I can celebrate and raise awareness of our rich past but also shine a light on the path ahead.
I’m also grateful because I exist in a world where I can sing ‘Born This Way’ by Lady Gaga in the club, highlighting the importance of allies like Lady Gaga in creating a safe and understanding world, and winning our hearts and minds. As someone part of the LGBTQ+ community, I’ve been lucky as my identity is something I have luckily always felt comfortable with, and I have an accepting family as well which can make a world of difference. Of course, in the earlier days, I still had to work to accept my identity but now I am so used to it, I don’t even second guess it!
Being surrounded by like-minded people who are also part of the community has been incredibly helpful in helping me feel comfortable with who I am. I even went to my local Pride event in 2023, and to see so much celebration for diverse identities was amazing. This year, I’m even more excited to celebrate Pride Month in Birmingham. Moving to Birmingham has also introduced me to more people from the community which has helped me embrace my identity more. Coming from a smaller part of the country I often heard people make offensive remarks at school, which is sadly still common. I was surprised when a comment was directed at myself, and it served as a stark reminder that the work Ms Gittings spoke of, is far from complete.
Amidst the celebrations, it’s important to remember that many individuals around the world still face the risk of being out. We are lucky. The efforts of activists like Peter Tatchell, although considered radical and controversial, play a pivotal role in trying to create a safer place for LGBTQ+ people. It is this work that will be reflected on in years to come. There are endless people to thank for their work on LGBTQ+ rights, and that is why there’s a month to reflect on this community!
Overall, LGBTQ+ History Month is a significant occasion for reflection and gratitude towards the work that has been done. Simultaneously, it serves as a reminder of the progress that can still be made – whether in the form of legislative changes or fostering respect at various societal levels. It also means I don’t have to worry about who I am. Let us take a moment to acknowledge the incredible achievements that LGBTQ+ people have achieved and continue to do!
We're proud to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month throughout February. Learn what events, workshops and activities you can get involved with by visiting our official LGBTQ+ History Month events page.