History is a lot like marmite, you either love it or hate it! It’s full of dates and facts and can seem hard going. But history is important, history has created the world we know today and it’s important to understand where we have started from, in order to know how far we have come…. and how much further we can still go! That’s why LGBTQ+ history month is so important.
LGBT+ History Month is held every February by the UK LGBT+ charity, Schools OUT. It aims to recognise ongoing and historical struggles the LGBTQ+ community have and do face that have shaped today’s society.
LGBT+ History Month started in the UK in 2005, as part of the Schools Out Project, in response to the retraction of The Section 28 Act. The Section 28 Act, a UK law existing between 1988 – 2003, was brought in to ban the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities either by teaching or publishing material.
The result meant all UK LGBT+ groups and clubs were stopped. LGBT+ themed literature was removed from library shelves and teachers were not allowed to promote gay relationships as acceptable within schools.It meant there was very little positive representation of LGBT+ life available and children and young people were left uneducated about this community for 15 years.
Following heavily supported campaigns, the Section 28 Act was overturned in 2003 which was a huge advancement for LGBT+ equality. Thanks to the creation of the Schools OUT Project and LGBT+ awareness month, children and young people can now be educated again about the LGBT+ community and the daily issues and challenges they face.
Did you know?
Why do we still need LGBTQ+ history month?
- Recognise those who have campaigned for LGBT+ rights
- Acknowledge those who are still campaigning (it is still illegal to be LGBT+ in over 50 countries!)
- Educate ourselves in LGBT+ history
- Make sure children and young people continue to be educated in schools on LGBT+ and its history
- Reflect on how far we’ve come and see how much further we need to go
Society has come a long way since the enactment of Section 28 and before. Here is a timeline of some of the pivotal changes in laws relevant to LGBTQ+ rights:
- The Sexual Offences Act 1967: private sexual acts between consenting men over the age of 21 would no longer be a criminal offence in England and Wales.
- Human Rights Act 1998: fundamental human rights for individuals, including protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. This law was also relied on to lift the ban on gay and bisexual individuals serving in the armed forces and equalising the age of consent to be the same as opposite-sex partners.
- Adoption and Children Act 2002: same-sex individuals could adopt legally for the first time in the UK and both individuals were legally the child’s guardian.
- The Civil Partnership Act 2004: same-sex couples could enter into same-sex unions with the same rights as married couples.
- The Equality Act 2010: this Act followed the controversial Gender Recognition Act 2004 and added gender reassignment as a ‘protected characteristic’. It also made it unlawful for someone to be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
- Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013: this Act recognised same sex marriages, entered into law in England and Wales.
These acts have all paved the way for many social changes which have transformed the way the public view LGBTQ+ relationships.
Mental health…. Did you know?
For LGBTQ+ people under 35, mental health issues are twice as common in comparison to their non-LGBTQ peers, with increased incidence of self-harm and suicidal ideation (LGB&T Partnership, 2017).
Covid-19….Did you know?
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the mental health of LGBTQ+ community. The LGBTQ+ Lockdown Survey 2021 (LGBT Hero, 2021) surveyed 2,273 LGBTQ+ people of which 36% were under 18. The survey found that just 17% of under 18s felt they could express their gender identity or sexuality throughout lockdown and that 46% of under 25s have felt suicidal in the past year with 14% of under 18s having attempted suicide.
There is lots of support available if you, or anyone you know, have, or are being affected by any of these issues, please visit the Princes Trust website for a number of organisations who provide free and confidential support on all matters LGBTQ+.
Written By: Elin Evans School Nurse
LGBT+ History Month 2022
This years LGBTQ+ History month theme is: ‘Politics in Art’
This theme aims to highlight and celebrate the countless accomplishments, creativity, and contributions of LGBTQ+ artists. It also aims to reference and honour art in the national curriculum.
Whilst fighting for equality, art has provided an emotional symbol of the LGBTQ+ community’s struggles against homophobia. …..can you think of any LGBT+ artists you want to celebrate?
Another celebration of the LGBT+ community is PRIDE! Pride events with music, dancing and much more are held all over the country each June. This year marks 50 years of Pride!
How can your school nurses support you?
School nurses can be contacted via text through Chathealth for further support.
Chathealth is a free and confidential text messaging service for young people aged 11- 19. You can ask your school nurse to visit you in school to have a chat about anything LGBTQ+ related. There may be youth groups your school nurse could signpost you to.