Celebrating LGBT History Month 2022

LGBT History Month, which runs from 1-28 February 2022, is an annual, month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. It celebrates inspirational role models, promotes equality and diversity and, importantly, raises awareness of LGBT+ people, supporting visibility and helping to combat prejudice.

The theme for LGBT History Month 2022 is Politics in Art: The Arc is Long, inspired by a Martin Luther King quote: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

The quote is thought to mean that, although it is taking a long time, we are curving/moving towards social justice and fairness.

This theme for LGBT History Month provides an opportunity to explore the idea of social justice and changing attitudes towards LGBT+ people. While we have come a long way in terms of inclusion and attitudes towards same gender relationships and equal marriage, there is still a great deal of work that can happen in terms of positive trans (including non-binary) representation and inclusion.

In the UK, the event is honoured in February to coincide with the abolition of Section 28 in 2003, which prohibited the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality. LGBT+ history is often left out of the educational curriculum and history studies, leaving people unaware of events such as the Stonewall Uprising in 1969.

Some of the big issues that still confront LGBT+ people globally include raising awareness that 69 countries still criminalise homosexuality. Did you know that 36 countries out of 53 in the Commonwealth criminalise homosexuality? The UK Government is currently holding a consultation on banning gay conversion therapy, something widely regarded as torture or cruel in the LGBTQ community.

Trans rights, including access to trans healthcare, is another huge issue. Even here in the UK, the waiting list just for a first consultation can take years. In recent times transgender people have come under attack in areas of society such as accessing bathrooms that fit their gender identity.

Offenders that identify as trans women can be excluded from access to women’s prisons, putting their lives in danger and causing them a huge amount of anxiety.

The most meaningful way to recognise LGBT History Month is to start with your own company, workplace or educational institution.

You could consider making an impactful inclusion pledge or improving your discrimination policies. You could invite your LGBT+ company employee resource group to host “lunch and learns” on LGBT History Month and post articles on your company intranet sharing stories of LGBT+ role models.

So many people are unaware of all the interesting historical LGBT events and those that are planned for February 2022. There are numerous cultural events taking place nationally and online, and it is well worth checking your local area too.

Pride in London will be held on 2 July 2022 after a three year break and is being promoted as the most diverse Pride ever, with greater emphasis on inclusion for people of all backgrounds, genders and ethnicities.

Brighton Pride is on 5-7 August 2022 and is one of the most popular Pride events in the UK calendar.

This year’s UK Pride is on 22-24 July 2022 and has been allocated to Northern Pride, taking place in Newcastle.

World Pride is appointed to a member country of the InterPride organisation. In 2021, this was held jointly in Copenhagen and Malmo. The next World Pride is in Sydney. Australia. in 2023.

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Emma Nicholson is the IoD’s diversity and inclusion ambassador for Yorkshire and North East; chair of the Women’s Engineering Society ED&I Specialist Interest Group; a member of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) EDI Advisory Panel; and winner of The Inspire Awards 2021

The article was co-written with Christina Riley, CIOB EDI Advisory Panel member; Construction Industry Council Diversity Committee member; co-founder of Building Equality; director of EDI Construct, LGBT Construct and Bicester Pride CIC; Corporate Rising Star at the British LGBT Awards 2017; and UK Construction Week Role Model of the Year 2021.

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