Photo credit: MyLGBTNetwork

Diversity throughout the UK is part of today’s education. Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender History Month begins on Friday, February 1 raising awareness of Nottingham’s diverse heritage.

Snips of relief as hair fell to the floor.

As the blade cut, the smile grew.

The defining moment.

Of when he became Alex.

Alex Carter began his transgender journey at the age of 16, completely alone.
When puberty had begun a few years earlier at the age of 12, a confusion of feelings had developed and had started to overwhelm him.

Alex sought medical advice to start his transition to become a male. He soon discovered he was able to put a name to how he was feeling and now at the age of 21 identifies as transgender as well as a part of the LGBT community.

Alex was born in 1998 in Leicestershire, where he and his family are from, but now lives in Nottingham as he studies for his degree in nursing.

Alex picture above in a comparison photo of 10 years difference.

For Alex, the LGBT history month strikes a purpose with enlightening and discussing what needs to be done to continue with the community’s future.

“It is important for us to explain the history so people don’t just think it’s something that’s new and trendy that’s just come round”
Alex Carter, 21, Nurse Student at Queen’s Medical Centre

He said: “It is important for us to explain the history so people don’t just think it’s something that’s new and trendy that’s just come round. To help people understand what they don’t know about the LGBT community, it raises awareness.

“The events throughout the city, especially at the University of Nottingham, interest me but I like to share my journey on Instagram where I have my biggest following.”

LGBT Pride last year in Nottingham featuring Andrew Towning (right) and Rosey Donovan.

February features LGBT History Month every year. For cities across the country and the world it is a time for education on the community’s progression and journey.

The month’s purpose is to advance awareness of the community’s negatives as well as positives. Each year’s month is themed, with 2019 hosting the name of ‘Peace, Reconciliation and Activism’. Badges are purchased to show support towards the month.

“I believe it to be more on the political side rather than on the heritage side”
Tony Scupham–Bilton, 59, LGBT+ Historian

Tony Scupham–Bilton, 59, a LGBT+ historian in Nottingham said that the city seems to be accepting and diverse but lacking a central morale.

He said: “Our concept of an inclusive heritage doesn’t seem to be as inclusive as other countries’ concepts. I believe it to be more on the political side rather than on the heritage side.

“There doesn’t seem to be a co-ordinated city spirit, a few separate things like Nottingham Pride but they don’t seem to come together like other cities. This may be because we are a smaller, more compacted city.”

Tony believes there hasn’t been a change over the last twenty years towards positive progression of LGBTs.

He said: “I have seen a closure of LGBT venues. There are more places now however that are more generally accepting but not labelled.”

Andrew Towning, pictured above, enjoying LGBT Pride 2018.

Alex’s everyday life contains use of transphobic behaviour from strangers, for him it has become a daily occurrence.

He said: “Awareness weeks and months like these are what encourages me to continue living the life I want to.”

Alex runs a Facebook group that has over 100 members across the UK to help show support and solidarity for the community.

According to Middlesex University London’s research survey ‘62% of people felt Nottingham was an LGBT friendly city – only 6% disagreeing’.

This research also showed that 83% of people interviewed felt comfortable with LGBT people showing affection in public.

This year’s Stonewall Network 2019 award was presented to Nottingham City Council’s LGBT Network.

Andrew Towning, 26, the Secretary of LGBT Network at Nottingham City Council, discusses how his core message is one of optimism for the LGBTQ+ community.

He said: “I think history month is important to me, as I become older I am more reflective about LGBT. We knew tomorrow would be better but looking back at where we were 50 years ago it has progressed.

“People say I am optimistic but when it comes to LGBT rights I feel very optimistic about them. When you look at the fundamentals we have obviously taken some steps back but year on year people are becoming more accepting.”

Alex is currently in the early stages of his transition and only on Testorene dose, T-dose, at the moment. Below is a video of his progression.

He is waiting upon approval for his top surgery, this is male chest reconstruction for trans-males.

To receive any kind of medical treatment or operation Alex has to receive approval from a doctor, psychotherapist or related person. Alex received his approval for T-dose in July 2018 and started it a month later.

A hysterectomy will be the next step for Alex, an operation to remove a female’s uterus.

He is not currently planning on undergoing bottom surgery – gender reassignment surgery to create a penis.

The city’s History Month for the LGBT community commences on Friday, February 1 with a range of events over the city.

This includes an official ceremony in the Lord’s chambers at Nottingham Council House on February 1. The event officially begins at 8pm.

For Alex, members and allies of the LGBT community this month will help to raise awareness and further educate Nottingham about their lives.

Alex’s relief re-ignites with each step closer he becomes.

His smile continues to grow as his transition continues.

The life changing decision.

Of when he chose to choose to live his life.

As LGBT history month commences there are many events in the pipeline in and around Nottingham. Here are a few ideas for those looking:

1. The National Justice Museum on High Pavement is featuring the following exhibition: ‘Desire, Love, Identity: Exploring LGBTQ+ histories’ until March 3.
It is a free exhibition open from 9am till 5pm.
2. The University of Nottingham is hosting a programme of events.
For the full information please visit their website at https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/
The highlights include the ‘Queer Chinese Representations on Transitional Screens’ shown on the afternoons of Wednesday 6 and Thursday, February 7 at Djanogly Theatre.
3. The Lord Roberts pub in Hockley is known for being LGBT+ friendly.
It is hosting a chapter and verse open poet mic on Saturday 2 February.
It is a free event running from 4:30 till 7pm with poet Jess Green headlining.
4. Silver Pride: A talk on experiences of older LGBT+ members in Nottingham.
The event is being held in Newton Room 43 at Nottingham Trent University, 12 till 1pm.