LGBTQ+ History Month
Today marks the start of LGBTQ+ History Month, an annual celebration and remembrance of the LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer + others) community.
The importance of LGBTQ+ History Month
With a lack of education and awareness, members of the LGBTQ+ community still face prejudice today. The overall aims of this month are to promote equality and diversity for the LGBTQ+ community, to acknowledge and value their contributions to society, and most importantly; to ensure they feel safe and accepted.
Achievements of the LGTBQ+ community can often be overlooked; it’s important to carry on educating those on the sacrifices made by the community which led to milestones such as the Sexual Offences Act 1967.
Although there have been huge milestones for the LGBTQ+ community there is still a great deal of work to be done to move towards social justice, fairness and inclusion.
What is the theme for this year?
This year’s theme is Politics in Art: “The Arc is Long” which is inspired by a Martin Luther King quote: ‘The Arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’
Some of the LGBTQ+ artists featured in this year’s theme are Keith Haring with his dancing figures, which were used to draw attention to the growing AIDS crisis of the early 1980s. Graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat was also significant in the ‘80s for his neo-expressionist paintings.
How you can be an ally
Being an LGBTQ+ ally is about helping to create an inclusive environment where people can feel safe and be themselves around you.
If you are a straight ally, here are some of the ways you can help improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bi and trans people everywhere.
Familiarise yourself with the terms
Educating yourself with the correct terminology and pronouns is a simple but crucial step in becoming an ally. Take note of what words a person uses to describe themselves and their sexual orientation and gender identity, using the correct terms and pronouns is being respectful to those around you.
Stonewall has created a Stonewall glossary of terms for you to learn and begin to familiarise yourself with.
Expanding your reading and watch list with cultural content is also an easy step but an important way of learning about LGBTQ+ history and LGBTQ+ existence today.
Show your support
A good way to show support is to engage with charities and events in your local community.
Cliffe Castle has the Keighley Pride patchwork flag up on display which was created over lockdown in 2021. On 25 February, they will be doing a Sew Keighley Pride Flag and Just a Ball Game LGBTQ+ History Month special. This will involve a discussion and Q&A with organisers from Sew Keighley Pride and Just A Ball Game, an anti-discrimination in sports campaign. For more information click here.
There are also small LGBTQ+ businesses out there to show support to, this can be done by sharing their social media on your own accounts or if you can afford to, purchasing something from them.
Celebrating at college
Keighley College is celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month in a variety of ways this year, stay tuned on our socials to find out more.
On the 1 February at 12pm, some of the staff and students will be attending a Progress Pride Flag raising event to mark LGBTQ+ History Month which will remain in place in the Town Hall Square for the whole month of February. The Town Mayor, Cllr Julie Adams, will be raising the flag and invites anyone to join the event.
If you are struggling with mental health or just want to chat, there is plenty of support available.
Keighley College’s LGBTQ+ Society provides a safe space for those who identify as LGBTQ+ to be fully themselves without fear of judgement, criticism or discrimination. The society also welcomes straight allies who are encouraged to attend events.
If you’d like to get involved, visit the page on the Students’ Union page to see what’s going on.
The Yorkshire MESMAC is a sexual health organisation that offer a range of services for members of the public across Leeds, Bradford, Rotherham and Hull. They offer a range of mental health and wellbeing services, including counselling, one-to-one support, group sessions and training as well as LGBTQ+ support groups.
Mindline Trans+ is an emotional and mental health support helpline for anyone identifying as transgender, non-binary, genderfluid.