Despite increasing support and rights for LGBT+ individuals, LGBT+ History Month is still an important annual event!
What is LGBT+ History Month?
LGBT History Month is celebrated every February to coincide with the anniversary of the abolition of Section 28, in 2003. It has been celebrated in the UK since 2006, however, the event began in the USA in 1994. The aim of LGBT+ History Month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of everybody. The theme for LGBT+ History Month in 2021 in ‘Mind, Body and Spirit’.
When does homosexuality date back until?
Most historians agree that there is evidence of homosexual activity and same-sex love in every documented culture. Attitudes have changed throughout time and in different cultures, ranging from acceptance to persecution.
Why do we still celebrate LGBT+ History Month?
LGBT+ History Month is still very important as despite increased visibility and acceptance in society, there is still a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding of the LGBT+ community. LGBT+ History Month is an opportunity to reflect on some of the challenges for the LGBT+ community, how they were overcome and how to support the community with challenges that LGBT+ people still may face. It’s also an opportunity to raise awareness, celebrate progress and create an environment where people feel it’s safe to learn, ask questions and be curious.
How have LGBT+ rights changed in the UK over time?
In the UK, The Buggery Act of 1533 was the first time that a law persecuting homosexuality was passed by Parliament, during the reign of Henry VIII. This was punishable by death up until 1861 with the Offences Against the Person Act and replaced with a minimum of 10 years of imprisonment. In 1885, The Criminal Law Amendment Act made any male homosexual act illegal, whether there were witnesses or not. The law was so vague that it became well known as the ‘Blackmailer’s Charter’ and even letters expressing love for another man was enough for prosecution! In 1895, famous Irish writer Oscar Wilde fell victim to this law.
Fast forward to modern society and lots of things have changed, including increased human rights, acceptance and support for LGBT+ individuals. If you’re interested more in how LGBT+ rights have changed over time in the UK, check out these videos:
Whether you are LGBT+ or would like to support someone who is, you can find help and advice here.
Unsure what LGBT+ means? Have a look at TheSprout’s LGBT+ Glossary.