INSIGHTS: LGBT HISTORY MONTH 2020
February is LGBT History Month in the UK. With such an important date in the LGBT calendar coming up, we wanted to highlight the importance of this month, and discuss why marking LGBT history is still important in 2020.
LGBT History Month is an observation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, including the history of the LGBT+ civil rights movement, and began in the US in 1994, coinciding with National Coming Out Day. Celebrations in the UK, which were founded by teachers Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick in 2005, are part of the Schools OUT UK project, which works to combat inequality in education.
The marking of LGBT History Month in the UK also came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28, which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools; in actuality, this meant that same-sex relationships could not be mentioned in anything other than a negative way. Section 28 has since been regarded as one of the most harmful pieces of government legislation towards the LGBT+ community in history.
Each year LGBT History Month has a theme, which ties into a particular area of the curriculum, such as “History – Peace, Reconciliation, Activism” or “Geography – Mapping the World”. This year’s theme ties into literacy, and is “Poetry, Prose, & Plays”, celebrating the contributions of LGBT+ poets and authors.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
The purpose of LGBT History Month is to highlight the progress that the world has made in regards to LGBT+ inclusion, but also to highlight the steps that we still need to take.
It’s important to note that there is a lot we still need to do to ensure that LGBT+ individuals feel included in the workplace. 56% of LGBT+ people feel uncomfortable being open about their sexual orientation in the workplace, and 26% of LGBT+ people have hidden or disguised their identity at work for fear of discrimination. Research has also shown that graduates who were out at college and university have gone back “into the closet” after entering work.
Through events like LGBT History Month, we have the opportunity to take positive action towards inclusion. There are many simple, easy steps that can be taken to drive inclusive cultures, and marking key dates can show a real commitment to making sure that everyone is included.
Whilst it may sometimes be uncomfortable, reviewing the past is important so that we can recognise the contributions that have been made, as well as avoid making mistakes that lead to less inclusive cultures; Section 28 is an example of this. Being able to recognise the hurt mistakes like this have caused, will help us to ensure a more inclusive future.
LGBT Great works with businesses throughout the year to help build inclusive cultures, by marking key events like LGBT History Month, along with many other initiatives. Keep posted to see our LGBT History Month campaign next month, and to find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org