LGBT+ History Month


LGBT+ History Month - Flag Banner

February is LGBT+ History Month in the UK and KMi is celebrating the achievements and contributions of LGBT+ individuals alongside our colleagues at the Open University LGBT+ staff network.

The LGBT+ staff network is putting on many different events to help educate and inspire. So, to encourage our staff, students and external partners to learn more about LGBT+ themes this month, we will be sharing the programme here on a weekly basis. Check out the LGBT+ staff network programming for this week (February 1 - 7) below:

Why we need History Month

In this first of four weekly updates we're focussing on history, progress we've made and why we need to learn from the past and keep striving for LGBT+ equality and inclusion.

Understanding LGBT+ History and struggles is as important as ever, with the UK dropping from 1st to 9th on the list of Europe's most LGBT Friendly nations since 2015. We all have a responsibility to try and make the OU an inclusive and welcoming place for all to work and be themselves, in a safe and supportive environment.


This LGBT+ History Month Wallchart is a great visual showing some of the key figures and events in our history and the YouTube LGBT+ History Channel brings some of this to life even more.

Progress has been hard fought for LGBT+ people, and this article shows 10 ways in which the UK has changed.


The NEW LGBT+ Hub is now live, and we've chosen the following content to highlight for our first week:

Key Themes

We will be sharing further messages across various comms platforms including OU Life, Inside Track and YAMMER (please join the LGBT+ Group if you haven't, although note you may need to toggle to 'old' Yammer view to find it!) along 4 weekly themes;

  • Week 1 - What is LGBT+ History Month and why do we need it?
  • Week 2 - Trans Inclusion & Representation
  • Week 3 - Bi & Ace Inclusion & Representation
  • Week 4 - Body, Mind & Spirit (the 'official' LGBT+ History Month Theme)

Mind, Body and Soul: LGBT+ Wellness & Mental Health

It's the last week of LGBT+ History Month and for our final weekly bulletin, we've gone all out! Grab a cuppa and dig in, and be sure not to miss the event we're hosting with Sophia Papadopoulos of Kantar 'The generational shift in LGBTQI women coming out' on Thursday 25th at 12.30-1.15pm - join the event HERE

What do we know about LGBT+ populations and health inequalities?

According to a 2018 report by Stonewall on LGBT+ health in Britain, half of LGBT+ people (52 per cent) said they've experienced depression between 2017-2018. And one in eight LGBT+ people (13 per cent) have experienced some form of unequal treatment from healthcare staff because they're LGBT+.

Turning to the 2020 COVID pandemic, emerging research has foregrounded the effects that the pandemic has had on LGBT+ communities. These effects include exacerbating existing health inequalities which can mean that some LGBT+ individuals are more at risk of contracting Covid-19 than heterosexual individuals.

These health inequalities are connected to the effects of structural inequalities such as LGBTQ+ youth being more at risk of homelessness. This is reflected in how 24% of the young homeless population in the UK self-identify as LGBT and within this group, BAME LGBT people represent up to 40% of homeless LGBT youth according to the Alfred Kennedy Trust.

In response to the pandemic in the UK, charities such as The Outside Project, the UK's first LGBTIQ+ community shelter and centre, has foregrounded that it has opened its doors as a domestic abuse refuge for the LGBTIQ community during the current COVID pandemic.

MindOUT, a LGBTQ mental health charity run by and for lesbians, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer people, has also remained open during the current pandemic. This charity also stresses that it is open to men who have sex with men, women who have sex with women, intersex people, people who previously identified as trans and people who are questioning their sexual and/or gender identities.

Think global, act local! Lessons learned from AIDS activism and LGBT+ community histories

While the COVID pandemic has clearly had a major impact on our health and mental health in 2020-2021, there is also an incredible, and complex, history of responding to such a crisis among LGBTQ communities.

The recent miniseries It's a Sin scratches the surface of this history when we see an ACTUP style protest stopping the traffic in central London. This imagined protest is tapping into the history of AIDS activism in the UK and global contexts. The miniseries Pose, which slightly predate It's a Sin as a production, also looks at this history from the perspective of African-American and Latino/Latina/Latinx drag ball culture in NYC during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Pose also touches on how bisexual women and lesbians played a pivotal role during AIDS activism. They were the catalyst for uniting previously distant parts of the queer community, provided support to affected people and campaigned the government for better treatment.

Parts of this activist tradition have been captured online via the ACTUP oral history project especially how groups like ACTUP emerged to articulate the needs and demands of LGBTQ individuals who were affected by the AIDS pandemic. On a global scale, academics like Dr Mandisa Mbali has charted how AIDS activism in the South African context began within the LGBT+ community but soon became an intersectional mass protest movement and this history of AIDS activism is still present today including in reformed ACTUP groups such as ACTUP London.

One clear message that emerged from AIDS activism was to Think Global and Act Local! This slogan originally emerged from environmental activist circles in the 1960s and 1970s but the meaning was absorbed into AIDS activist circles in the 1980s onwards. More recently, it has been associated with climate change protests and discussions for national governments around the world to unite in their effort to share resources to combat the COVID pandemic. Think Global Act Local became a clear and direct message for many LGBTQ communities across the world when seeking to get national governments to address the health and needs of LGBTQ communities.

LGBT+ Wellness & Mental Health: Resources and Strategies including some

Below, you can find resources both at the OU and outside on wellness and mental health including LGBT+ histories and AIDS activism:


Last week, we shared an article on OU life how adding pronouns to your email signature can help colleagues across the OU to feel included and supported. Consider sharing information with colleagues on how they can add pronouns into their signatures.


On OpenLearn, there are a number of articles that focus on LGBT+ wellness and health. But please do consider contributing an OpenLearn article in the future to expand the LGBTQ hub on OpenLearn:

Events This Week

What About When Where
Scotland's LGBT+ Spaces: Then and Now. SX is Waverley Care's service for gay and bisexual men and all men who live across Scotland are hosting a panel discussion on the history of LGBT spaces across Scotland. We hope this conversation will highlight the importance of such spaces and their history in relation to the HIV+ community, with further dialogue around how LGBT spaces have adapted to survive through the current pandemic. Friday February 26th - 09:15-10:00 Register Here
Taking pride in inclusion: Practical steps to creating an LGBT+ inclusive workplace Our research has highlighted some of the common pitfalls in the successful implementation of LGBT+ diversity and inclusion strategies. In this webinar, Ashley Williams will be sharing some of the barriers that may be limiting the success of your interventions, and the practical steps you can take to enhance LGBT+ diversity and inclusion in your organisation. Friday February 26th - 09:15-10:00 Register Here
Sexual Health, Activism and the arrival of HIV/AIDS: the story behind it's a Sin Sexual Health, Activism and the Arrival of HIV/AIDS: the Story Behind It's a Sin Channel 4's powerful new drama It's a Sin depicts the lives of a group of young gay men during the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. As part of LGBT+ History Month, we explore gay men's sexual health in the decades running up to the emergence of the disease and find out how HIV/AIDS sparked a dramatic new wave of activism. Our guest speakers are Dr Richard McKay (Department of History and Philosophy of Science and author of Patient Zero and the Making of the AIDS Epidemic) and PhD student George Severs (Faculty of History). Thursday February 25th - 18:00-19:00 Register Here
The generational shift in LGBTQI women 'coming out' Sophia Papadopoulos, from Kantar will be discussing some research that Kantar had done in collaboration with the Diva media group. The research is some of the first of its kind in a market research context and is seeking to explore some of the experiences of LGBTQI women and one of the biggest study focusing on the lives of LGBTQI women. Thursday 25th February - 12:30-13:15 Register Here
Conceal or reveal? In pursuit of authenticity at work In every novel social interaction at work, LGBT+ employees must make a choice: whether to pass as a member of the majority, or whether to come out as a visible member of the LGBT+ community. In this webinar, Alexia Karageorghis outlines the consequences of concealing LGBT+ identities and explores how organisations can create a culture which promotes authenticity. Thursday February 25th - 09:15-10:00 Register Here
It's not the fish it's the water: Stereotypes and attitudes towards the LGBT+ community This webinar, presented by Binna Kandola, examines how context and societal norms impact the stereotypes and attitudes towards the LGBT+ community. In particular, the webinar explores how people from this community came to be stigmatised and does so by an examination of people's attitudes through history. Wednesday February 24th - 09:15-10:00 Register Here
Voices from Parliament: From 'gross indecency between women' to 'pretended family relationship' Dr Caroline Derry and Dr Andrew Gilbert will explore two key parliamentary debates on sexuality in the twentieth century. All are welcome, with no knowledge of law required.
Caroline is the author of Lesbianism and the Criminal Law: Three centuries of regulation in England and Wales (Palgrave, 2020); Andrew is the author of British Conservatism and the Legal Regulation of Intimate Relationships (Hart, 2018).
Tuessday 23rd February - 11:00 Microsoft Teams
Discrimination and exclusion: Exploring LGBT+ exclusion at work Research indicates that LGBT+ employees face greater levels of discrimination and exclusion at work than any other marginalised community. In addition to recruitment, pay and promotion discrimination, LGBT+ individuals experience many unique forms of exclusion. In this webinar, Ashley Williams will be discussing key pieces of research that shed some light on the unique workplace experiences of LGBT+ employees. Tuesday February 23rd - 09:15-10:00 Register Here
LGBTQIA+: Deconstructing the acronym From the way we address our colleagues to the way we market our services, the language we use matters. Language plays an important part in helping people feel seen by having their identities recognised; this is especially true for marginalised communities such as the LGBT+ community. In the first webinar of this series, Alexia Karageorghis explores how to navigate LGBT+ terminology. Monday February 22nd - 09:15-10:00 Register Here
OUTing The Past 2021 - Suffolk Archives Suffolk Archives will be discussing the project 'Pride in Suffolk's Past'. The project is two-fold; to explore and share the hidden stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in Suffolk, but also to collect contemporary stories of Suffolk's LGBTQ+ Community, documenting people's experiences through a period of monumental societal change towards sexuality and gender identity. Thursday 18th February - 18:00-19:00 Sign Up Here
SALON LIVE: Russel T Davies & Ruth Coker Burks, with Damian Barr 10% of every ticket sold will go to support the work of Terrence Higgins Trust ( Join us online for a powerful evening of fear and hope, loss and survival, becoming and belonging. In the 1980s, HIV-AIDS devastated the LGBTQ+ community - the epidemic is far from over. Damian interviews Ruth Coker Burks, author of All The Young Men, and Russell T Davies, creator of It's A Sin, as they look back on that time, tell untold stories and reflect on their relevance now. Thursday 18th February - 20:00-21:30 Sign Up Here
(£5.98 per ticket)
Surrey LGBTQ+ History Month Seminar 2021: Visibility, Connection and Inclusion In collaboration with Surrey County Council, Surrey Police will shine a light on the historical achievements of the LGBTQ+ community and acknowledge the sacrifices others have made to shape the society we live in. Thursday 18th February From 11:00 Sign Up Here
LGBT in Lockdown Held by the University of Kent, this event for LGBTQ+ people to share their experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Wednesday 17th February From 18:00 Sign Up Here
Beyond the Binary: Scientific Thinking about Sex 1900-1950 York University are holding a fascinating LGBT+ History Month talk exploring how the binary definition of sex was challenged by scientists in the early 20th century. Tuesday 16th February - 17:00-18:00 Sign Up Here
LGBT+ History Month: Pronouns - 5 Top Tips (University of Wolverhampton The University of Wolverhampton presents a talk with Chloe Foster: come and learn about why pronouns are important, particularly to most trans and non-binary people. Tuesday 16 February - 16:00-17:00 Sign Up Here
Jamie Windust in conversation Join author and model Jamie Windust and Dr Esther McIntosh, Associate Head of Religion, Politics and International Relations at York St John University, for a fun and frank evening of conversation about the key issues for the LGBT+ community in 2021. Jamie will discuss their debut book, In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life, and share their thoughts on topics ranging from the need for kindness in the LGBT+ community to the impact of Pride cancellations in 2020. Monday 15th February - 18.00-19.00 Sign Up Here
Trans Inclusion & Representation Webinar This workshop will look at the issues faced by transgender people in Britain today. You will learn about the spectrum of different people covered by the umbrella term "Transgender", find out what it is like to be transgender and the myriad of difficulties faced in everyday life, and explore some of the things you might do to help with transgender inclusion. Friday 12th February 12.30-2.30pm Teams (Invite to follow)
Trans History Talk A short introduction to the long history of transgender people around the world and some significant events in Britain since the 1950s Wednesday 10th February 12.30-1pm Teams (Invite to follow)
OU LGBT+ Staff Network Online Social We are hosting this online via Teams just after the Wolfenden Lecture Wednesday 3rd February 8-9pm Teams (Invites sent)

Future LGBT+ Wellbeing and mental health related events and resources:

External LGBT+ History Month events

We're also supporting and signposting to a number of LGBT+ History Month events, check out the full calendar.

What About When Where
Being Queer Asian Global webinar exploring engagement work with LGBT+ ethnic minorities and their communities with particular focus from Asian perspectives. Tuesday 9th February 1.30pm Birmingham University Sign Up Here
Annual Wolfenden Lecture Annual Wolfenden Lecture - Why We Are Not All Equal, Hafsa Quereshi (Stonewall Bi Role Model of the year 2019) Wednesday 3rd February 7pm Reading University Sign Up Here

Inclusive Pride Flag

You'll notice we've started using a new flag, so if you're interested in The History of Pride Flags its here.

And finally...

We love this charitable initiative from 'Stonewall Housing' alongside House of Pride supported by the Royal Mail 'Connecting the Letters'. When you sign up you will receive a personalised letter in the post from a famous LGBTQ+ individual every week of February, detailing their LGBTQ+ journey and sharing their lockdown highlights. You of course are prompted to write back if you so wish. All proceeds going to the Stonewall Housing charity. ENJOY!

If you have been enjoying the Channel 4 Series It's a Sin by Russell T Davies mentioned above, there is an After Hours series of behind-the-scenes documentaries with the cast and crew. Whilst originally available only on YouTube, they have now been made available on All4 (free sign up required)- La!


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