Celebrations for LGBT history month underway

Alice Duddy 13 February 2014

A variety of events in Cambridge have been organised to celebrate LGBT History Month. From panel discussions to flash mobs, they showcase the achievements of the LGBT community and serve as a reminder of the need for further progress.

The start of February was marked by the raising of the rainbow flag over the Guildhall as a symbol of peace and solidarity.

LGBT History Month has been celebrated since the abolition of Section 28 in February 2005, a section which prohibited the promotion of homosexual relationships in schools.

This week, Sidney Sussex College hosted an event called ‘A Little Gay History: LGBT and World History’ where Richard Parkinson, curator at the British Museum, discussed a ground-breaking LGBT history project at the British Museum. It discussed how and why museums should represent same sex experiences as integral parts of world culture.

Bethany Randall, the LGBT representative for Sidney Sussex, told The Cambridge Student that the aim of the event was to “look at the exploration of LGBT culture throughout history, and how in certain cultures it was widely accepted, whereas today in certain countries it is not.”

Other events include a talk on cultural homophobia on 19 February entitled ‘That’s so gay … Cultural Homophobia Explored’, to be held at Corpus Christi College.

There will also be several music events, including an African drumming Workshop on Saturday 22 February and weekly karaoke nights on Sundays.

The host of events comes in the wake of a flashmob titled ‘To Russia with love, Cambridge’ held on King’s Parade on Sunday in solidarity with the Russian LGBT community.

Elly Smith, a student at Trinity Hall who organised the event, told TCS about the motivation behind the event: “My girlfriend and I can hold hands on the street, without fear. We feel very lucky to live in a town where people aren’t persecuted for who they love. Not everyone has this … So I wanted to demonstrate what a tolerant world looks like, and send it to Russia as a message of hope.”

Sarah Gibson, the transgender representative at CUSU, will be a panellist on ‘Talking Trans Rights: A panel discussion’, to be held at Anglia Ruskin University, 25 February. Gibson [in a personal capacity] told TCS about the importance of the upcoming event: “The silencing of trans voices in LGBT+ activism is a real problem in this country … and it is only right that there are events like this, in LGBT+ history month, to allow us to articulate and challenge the prejudice we still face.”

Correction: It was not made clear in the original article that Gibson spoke to us, and will speak at the panel discussion, in a purely personal capacity. The quote relates directly to the panel event, and the views expressed here do not necessarily express the views of CUSU LGBT+.