LGBT+ History Month: Stepping Into the Future

LGBT+ History Month: Stepping Into the Future

LGBT+ History Month in the UK has almost come to an end, but the fight for LGBTQ+ rights is certainly not over. In this blog, we’re going to look at what we’ve achieved this year, as well as thinking about how we can work together to pave the way for LGBTQ+ history to continue to be made, both in and outside of the classroom. We’ve collaborated with the organisers of LGBT+ History Month in the UK, so we’ll include their take on how it’s gone this year. We’ll add links to handy Beyond resources throughout, that we hope will assist you in continuing to support the making of LGBTQ+ history after this month.

What have we achieved during LGBT+ History Month 2022?

Here at Beyond, we make it our mission to promote diversity and inclusion across the board, throughout the whole year. We’re pleased to say that these resources have proved popular, with fantastic feedback and multiple 5-star reviews. Check out our top LGBTQ+ resource downloads for each subject in February.

What Is LGBT+ History Month? PowerPoint
LGBTQ+ Experiences in Literature Whole Unit Pack
Alan Turing Substitution Codebreaker
Sally Ride Poster and Fact File

Looking at the bigger picture, there have been many successes this year. This is the 17th LGBT+ History Month and the organisers were thrilled at how many schools, institutions, services, businesses and faith spaces were celebrating. This year marks 50 years since the first Pride in London and the founding of London Friend (the UK’s oldest LGBT charity) and 40 years since the founding of the Terrence Higgins Trust. As a result, the theme ‘Politics in Art’ seemed apt, with a popular slogan of the early gay rights movement being ‘the personal is political’.

Because Schools OUT UK (the founders of LGBT+ History Month in the UK) are an LGBT+ educational charity, they link the theme each year to the curriculum, enabling schools and colleges to take part. Their resources for educators, businesses and individuals have been particularly popular. In the lead up to the month, organisers spoke with teachers’ unions and took part in educational podcasts such as ‘Pride in Progress’. Throughout the month they supported schools by providing presentations in assemblies, lunchtime clubs and lessons. They have also been able to increase their reach through online teaching. The engagement from both students and teachers has been exceptional.

The badge for the year was chosen for the first time through a national competition open to schools, youth groups and universities. The winning design was by a young person, Finn Collett, who attended a youth group from The Proud Trust with whom the organisers have worked closely for many years. Scroll down to find out more about the competition to design next year’s badge. 

Finally, the organisation has employed social media to highlight a different artist every day on their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter channels. They also launched their TikTok channel with information about the five main LGBTQ+ artists they have been highlighting.

How can we keep this going beyond February?

Everyone at Beyond and Schools OUT UK are keen to ensure that the success of LGBT+ History Month is not just confined to February. It’s a great opportunity to remind us to step up our game, but how can we ensure that we continue to do this throughout the year? 

Give LGBTQ+ voices a platform

It’s really important that rather than just talk about LGBT+ History Month, we elevate the voices of LGBTQ+ individuals too. This means weaving LGBTQ+ experiences and voices into our curriculum, whether that’s through exploring authors in English, teaching about pioneers in maths and science, or bringing in speakers for relationships & sex education (RSE). You could use our Inspirational LGBTQ+ People PowerPoint to help with this. There are plenty of ways that we can ensure LGBTQ+ history is told from the perspectives of those who have lived it.

Teach truthfully

LGBTQ+ people have historically been treated cruelly, both in the UK and around the world, and still are in many settings. While it is important to ensure that students aren’t negatively impacted by what they’re learning in the classroom, we also mustn’t shy away from the truth. Teaching students about the oppression and unjust treatment of any marginalised group is likely to encourage them to become more empathetic and well-rounded individuals. If you’re worried, you can give students content warnings in case they want to step out. Our LGBT+ History Timeline Display and PowerPoint present a number of important moments in LGBTQ+ history, including the repeal of Section 28 and the legalisation of same-sex marriage. We also have a lesson pack on LGBTQ+ Prejudice and Discrimination.

Continue to make LGBTQ+ history

Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ individuals still face societal prejudices today, including systemic homophobia, health inequalities and hate crimes. Change often takes time, but the more widely we show our support, the quicker that change will happen. Celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and its history is one thing, but it’s also crucial that we work to dispel all forms of discrimination in our schools and educate out prejudice. Schools OUT UK like to remind schools that LGBTQ+ people come from all communities, and encourage us to include LGBTQ+ examples when celebrating other history months such as Women’s, Gypsy and Traveller, Black, South Asian and Disabled History Month. They also suggest including all teaching and non-teaching staff, governors and parent helpers in diversity and inclusion training so that everyone can be part of creating an inclusive schools culture. This includes challenging homophobia and teaching students why it’s harmful, something which you could use our Challenging Homophobia Display Poster for.

What will LGBT+ History Month 2023 look like?

The theme for LGBT+ History Month 2023 is Behind the Lens. It provides an opportunity to highlight the amazing work of LGBTQ+ directors, producers, special effects artists, lighting specialists, make-up artists, costume designers and basically everyone who makes film, theatre and TV happen behind the scenes. The official launch of the theme will be in November 2022, and organisers will host webinars following this to help organisations planning to celebrate LGBT+ History Month 2023. 

The organisers have launched a competition inviting people to design the badge and logo for LGBT+ History Month 2023. The winning logo will be made into a badge to be sold to generate much-needed income for their organisation. Designs must be submitted by 31st March 2022. All the information and competition rules can be found here. You can also find competition posters to display in your classroom in our LGBT+ History Month Display Pack.

Schools OUT UK plan to continue to develop and provide free resources for LGBT+ History Month, both on their own and working in partnerships to co-produce resources. They are expanding their educational resources for early years, primary and SEND, and will be providing resources in Welsh and Gaelic. The media resources will be expanded to include podcasts and short clips of the five main LGBTQ+ people they choose to highlight. This is going to be achieved by working in partnership with other organisations to ensure that the LGBTQ+ community is represented in its full diversity. 

Useful resources

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