The month of love: February is LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month is celebrated across the UK every February, aiming to celebrate and remember the history of the civil rights movement,

LGBT – which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender – awareness is particularly important with raising issues such as inequality, prejudice and violence towards the community. The history month itself began in the UK in 2006 after the 2003 abolition of Section 28: a motion of law which said that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”.

Homosexuality in the UK was illegal until 1967, and same-sex unions were not legally recognised until 2005. At this point, they were known as “civil partnerships” – dubbed as gay marriages by some parts of the media, but the government made it very clear that they were not marriages. This was until July 2013, when the Queen granted Royal Assent to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 – meaning that she had allowed the law to be passed instead of going through Commons and Lords. The first same-sex marriages took place at midnight on 29th March 2014, with many civil partnerships converting to marriage. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of civil partnerships formed in England and Wales fell by 70% following the introduction of same-sex marriage.

The theme of this year’s LGBT History Month is religion, belief and philosophy – with events happening to discuss the links between religion and sexuality in particular. In Coventry, there are film screenings and talks to explore links between Islam, Christianity and homophobia/sexuality, as well as preparations for Coventry’s first Pride event after last year’s late cancellation.

Coventry University’s LGBTQIA+ Society have today created a rainbow road at The Hub students’ union and plan to commemorate LGBT History Month through the duration of February. They also continue to campaign for Trans Day of Remembrance and the prevention of non-heterosexual people donating blood. In the past they have campaigned for gender neutral toilets around campus and worked with Coventry University Students Union to remove gender binary boxes (i.e. male or female) on all forms and replace them with open lines for people to express themselves freely.

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