What is LGBT+ History Month?
LGBT+ History Month aims to promote equality, diversity and inclusivity through increasing the visibility of LGBT+ people, raising awareness of issues affecting the LGBT+ community, and celebrating the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements.
It is celebrated in the UK every February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28. Section 28 was introduced as part of the Local Government Act in 1988 and prevented councils and schools from promoting homosexuality or teaching homosexual relationships as part of the family foundation.
It is understandable, therefore, that LGBT+ History Month has a strong grounding in and focus on equality campaigning and awareness-raising through education. The month-long annual celebration was initiated by Schools Out UK; an education charity that has been campaigning for LGBT+ inclusion for over 45 years. Schools Out UK aims to make schools and educational institutions safe spaces for the LGBT+ community – whether as teachers, lecturers, trainers, pupils, students, parents, support staff, headteachers, principals or governors – and ensure the education system recognises and supports LGBT+ people to achieve their full potential.
How can I celebrate LGBT+ History Month in my workplace?
Education, education, education
LGBT+ History Month aims to shine the spotlight on the people and events that have been kept in darkness or “forgotten” from education, culture, politics and the media. By understanding the historic issues faced by the LGBT+ community and their fight for equality, we gain insight into the progress that still needs to be made today. For an overview of major milestones in the battle for LGBT+ rights in the last century, click here.
Language and vocabulary
A primary barrier to inclusion is fear of saying the wrong thing or insecurity about not knowing the correct terminology to use. This is where LGBT+-focused workshops that provide a safe space for open and honest conversation come into their own. By educating your people about the correct use of pronouns and the diversity of LGBT+ identities – such as trans, queer, non-binary, pan sexual – as well as expanding their inclusive vocabulary, you enable them to engage in conversations they may have otherwise avoided or shied away from.
As mentioned above, there is a whole spectrum of LGBT+ identities and with that a multitude of lived experiences and stories. In addition to sharing the stories of trailblazing LGBT+ figures – from Stormé DeLarverie, the woman who sparked the fight back against police during the 1969 Stonewall raid, to Gilbert Baker, the American artist who designed the iconic rainbow flag – it is important to provide a platform for all LGBT+ stories to be heard. Invite LGBT+ colleagues to share their experiences via podcast or video interviews, speaker events or webinars. However, it is important that discussions should always be an invitation and on the individual’s terms, never forced.
The LGBT+ employee experience
Do you know the employee experience of LGBT+ people at your organisation? Giving employees the opportunity to feedback about their workplace experience through anonymous surveys or listening exercises provides invaluable insight for making your organisation more inclusive.
Similarly, employee networks that include LGBT+ representatives and allies, from all levels of seniority, provide a supportive space for raising any concerns they may have or challenges they may face, and collectively campaign for change in the organisation.
Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate
As well as recognising the ongoing fight for equality for the LGBT+ community, LGBT+ History Month is a celebration of diversity and individuality in all its multicoloured glory, so celebrate! Hold a LGBT+ History Month event, engage employees with Lunch ‘n’ Learns that not only enlighten but champion LGBT+ role models and allies, encourage employees to volunteer for LGBT+ charities and causes, and ensure colleagues explore the LGBT+ community beyond the workplace through art, theatre, film, music, comedy and more!
Tell Jane workshops for LGBT+ History Month
We offer a host of bite-sized workshops for LGBT+ History Month, delivered by trainers with lived experience. Workshops include LGBTQ+ awareness, understanding gender identity, LGBTQ+ allyship and dismantling bias training. To discover more about a particular session or our workshop package options, email email@example.com.