Today marks the beginning of LGBT+ history month, a time dedicated to highlighting, celebrating and learning about the rich and diverse history of the LGBT+ community. This year’s celebration feels particularly important as 2017 marks 50 years since the UK decriminalised homosexuality. It is also the first LGBT+ history month since the Pulse Nightclub massacre, which acted as a harsh reminder that some people will never accept us. With anti-LGBT Trumpism sweeping America and countries around the world turning back the clock on LGBT rights, as well as a spike in homophobic and transphobic hate crime in post-Brexit Britain, it’s vital that our community stands taller than ever.
In the last five years we’ve seen incredible milestones such as gay marriage becoming legal on both sides of the pond. However, too many young people (myself included) forget the struggle that got us to this point. Although our history is littered with heartache and injustice, it’s important that we learn it. Last year, singer Sam Smith found this out the hard way when he incorrectly claimed to be the first openly gay Oscar winner in his acceptance speech, only to be rather embarrassingly put in his place by writer Dustin Lance Black. Although there was nothing malicious in Smith’s initial claim, his blunder highlighted the need for every LGBT+ person to learn about those who have come before us. A world where LGBT+ people can hold hands on the street without fear and proudly walk down the aisle to marry the person they love was unimaginable to previous generations, but that didn’t stop them from fighting for our future.
To celebrate LGBT+ history month, we at HISKIND are planning some exciting content for the month of February. We will be speaking to icons of the LGBT+ rights movement, as well as highlighting inspiring places, events and milestones. Along the way we hope to learn more about ourselves and enlighten some of you to the incredible talent, beauty and passion that is so prevalent in our history.