Today (February 1) marks the beginning of LGBT+ history month, a celebratory time that recognises role models within the community of past and present.
Since February 2013, the history month was established to observe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, as well as the history of gay rights and civil rights movement.
The Nottingham LGBTQ+ community is one of many across the country that will be partaking in celebrations across the month.
Emma Wall, the Nottingham Trent University President of the Pride Society is one of many who is looking forward to the month ahead.
Emma said: “To me, LGBTQ+ History Month is very important, as it reminds people both within and outside of the community to look back at the past.
“We remember the struggles of those before us, and the brave people who fought for the rights we have today.
“Personally, remembering the past keeps me grounded and reminds me that we still have a way to go before we’ve achieved real equality.
“I’ve had slurs shouted at me in public and the occasional person who doesn’t understand what is and isn’t okay to say to an LGBT individual.
“I think that a lot of queer people have to grow a thick skin because of experiences like this.
“As a queer person I can sometimes feel somewhat detached from history; queer history has been censored and silenced in many cases.”
The NTU Pride Society strives to be inclusive of anyone, and provides a safe space for anyone to ask questions, become involved in discussions and make new friends through events they hold.
To celebrate this month, the society will be running various events including their usual meetups and socials such as a transgender workshop where those attending can learn what it is like to be transgender.
Emma added: “As a personal exercise this February, I plan to listen to “The Log Books”, which is a podcast that explores the charity Switchboard’s records of callers to their LGBTQ+ helpline from 1974 onwards.”
To find out more about the NTU Pride society, you can find out here.
The LGBT+ service in Nottinghamshire was established in 2016, and provides a range of specialised services for those aged 11-25 years old who identify as LGBT+, or those who may be questioning if they are.
They pride themselves on providing a safe and non-judgemental place where individuals can be themselves with no judgement, as well as meet new people and access support.
Georgia Crossland, who works at the LGBT+ Nottinghamshire service shared how the group will be celebrating the history month, and how important it is that not only this month that celebrates the LGBT+ community.
Georgia said: “We provide a safe non-judgemental for children’s and young people.
“All throughout the history month, every week there will be different activities, looking at role models, the law, legislation and how its changed over time.
“We also do attend the Nottingham Rainbow Heritage Awards the last Wednesday of the month and every year we attend the event.
“I think its important throughout the year, not just the month.
“It just brings the focus why we continue to raise awareness around issues and getting the education in schools.
“For young people as well learning about the history is apart their identity.”
If you would like to find out more information about the LGBT+ Nottinghamshire service, you can find out here.
Antonia Dale, 29, a Nottingham resident who is a part of the LGBT+ community also shared how important this month is to her.
Antonia said: “It is so important to me to celebrate all of the amazing queer people that have surrounded me throughout my adult life.
“Being amongst the LGBTQIA+ community is where I feel most safe, loved and valued.
“I think it is so important to keep pushing for queer visibility and representation so that the wider community sees and appreciates us.”
Antonia also reveals how she loves queer art and photography books, as she believes “there is something so special about queer photography and how it captures the kaleidoscope of identities that make up our community,” adds Antonia.
In terms of any prejudice Antonia may have experienced, she adds: “I think I’m one of the lucky ones who has managed to escape homophobia in the form of insults or attacks, however society’s general lack or understanding of queer diversity can be very harmful.”
There are many events that you should not miss out on this month across Nottinghamshire to celebrate LGBT+ history month:
- Drag Bingo Special at Nottingham Trent Student Union, Tuesday February 1 – Nottingham’s own drag queen Kitty Tray will be taking over the NTSU on February 1 to kick off the celebratory month.
- LGBTea and Chat, Monday February 7 – At The Orangery, at the NTU Brackenshurst campus, a safe and social space will be held for the LGBT community to meet others and chat. The same event will also be held on Monday February 14 at the Clifton Lounge and the Mezz Lounge at the NTU City campus on Tuesday February 21.
- ICON, Tuesday February 8 – The NTU City Student Union will be holding a LGBTQ+ club night.
- LGBTQ+ History Month Quiz, Friday February 17 – The NTU Pride Society will be hosting in collaboration with the NTSU to hold this quiz night in celebration of the history month.
- Broadway Cinema & Cafe – The independent cinema based in Broad Street, Nottingham, NG1 3AL is a LGBTQIA+ friendly venue and screens LGBT films
- Pubs in Nottingham – The New Foresters Pub in St Anns Street and The Lord Roberts Pub in Broad Street are both LGBT+ friendly venues within the city.
How ever you may celebrate LGBT+ history month, across Nottinghamshire there are many events you can attend to educate yourselves on the role models of this community of past and present.