LGBT+ History Month 2023

Progress flag on pink background

In this personal blog, Keith Winestein tells us why February is a very important time of the year for him.

It is one year since I was honoured and privileged to pick up the National Diversity Award for LGBT Role Model at Liverpool Cathedral. Over the past 12 months I have tried to live up to that award.  I believe that  LGBT+ History Month is still relevant and needed in order to ensure that society is educated, safe and welcoming to all people whoever they may be.

What is LGBT+ History Month?

It is a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans, and non-binary (LGBT+) history. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements.

When is LGBT+ History Month 2023?

LGBT+ History Month takes place from the 1-28 February 2023.

LGBT+ History Month takes place in February because that was when it was initiated by the LGBT+ Education charity ‘Schools Out UK’ in 2005.

Clause 28

Schools Out UK did this to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28, a law which was passed in 1988 to stop councils and schools from “promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” The law was partly inspired by a 1983 storybook called ‘Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin’, which aimed to give children information about different types of family relationships.

This law introduced by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was abhorrent to me as I had come out to my parents a few years before aged 22 in 1984. Those preceding years were a very stressful and painful time for me personally. I do not blame my parents for having such an adverse reaction. My father suprisingly quiet, but my mother found it very distressing and said things to me, that many years later she apologised for and tried to make amends. By the time Clause 28 was introduced I was happily getting on with my work and life, living with a man who was to become my partner for 23 years. Through those early years we had no rights to housing, employment or next of kin if one of us was ill. There were many horror stories about couples where one person had died,  who not only lost their partner, but could be prevented from attending the funeral and losing the contents and their homes. 


My coming out ran coincided with the start of the AIDS pandemic and at that time in the UK mostly affected Gay men or men who had sex with men. It was the most terrifying prospect for anybody let alone a young gay man coming to terms with his sexuality at a time when it felt very unsafe. There were hideous headlines in the tabloid newspapers and real fear of being 'gay bashed'. To be discriminated by laws that made me feel like a criminal and a second class citizen introduced by a Conservative government has never left me. The mistrust is still very deep.


I campaigned against Clause 28  and throughout my adult personal and working life other stigma and discrimination issues which continues to this day. I believe we must be constantly vigilant and cannot afford to be complacent whilst any inequalities exist in our society that impact so negatively against people and their loved ones.

What is the theme for LGBT+ History Month 2023?

The theme for 2023 LGBT+ History month is ‘Behind the Lens’. The aim of this theme is to celebrate LGBT+ people’s hard work and contributions made to the production of film and cinema from ‘behind the lens’.

The types of roles that are celebrated include: Directors, Producers, Cinematographers, Screenwriters, Costume designers, Musical score composers, Choreographers, Special effects artists, Makeup artists, Set designers, Lighting specialists, Sound specialists, and support staff, such as caterers.

A diverse range of film titles, subjects and people

Last year Esquire Magazine featured The 50 Best LGBTQ Movies Ever Made but for me wrongly left out Milk which tells the story of Harvey Milk and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official. Sadly Milk was assassinated in San Francisco's City Hall.  Dustin Lance Black the American screenwriter, director, producer, and LGBT rights activist  won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009.Lance lives with his husband Tom Daley in SE1.

Why does LGBT+ History Month exist?

Sue Sanders, the co-founder of LGBT+ history month, said in a 2019 interview with the BBC that we need LGBT+ History month because:

“The ignorance is profound. And the ignorance has been deliberately done. We [the LGBT+ community] have a history, but we have been denied it. It’s great we have the laws in place, it’s great that we’re more visible, but who is visible? It’s white gay men. If you’re black, if you’re a lesbian, if you’re bisexual or if you’re trans – we have a lot of work to do.”

LGBT+ History month exists to raise awareness of the LGBT+ community’s history and promote equality. For me it is also about equity and belonging. I want everyone to have a sense of belonging wherever they may be; at home, at work and in the community.

How did LGBT+ history month start?

Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, the co-chairs of Schools Out UK, organised the event as part of a programme to educate young people about the issues members of the LGBT+ community face and to make schools inclusive for everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

150 to 200 events took place across the UK to celebrate LGBT+ history month, exceeding Sue and Paul’s expectation of 15 to 20 events. LGBT+ History month has taken place every February ever since then.

Why is LGBT+ History Month important? 

It gives us a chance to continue to educate ourselves on our history as a community, to take stock and realise just how good some of us have it. Find out more about why LGBT+ History Month exists here.

But it’s also a chance to look at what hasn’t changed, whether that’s in the UK or worldwide, and what we can do to really embody the spirit of those LGBT+ heroes that came before us.

What is the difference between LGBT+ History Month and Pride Month?

Pride Month takes place in June and is when Pride parades, outdoor events that celebrate LGBT+ acceptance and pride, usually take place. These sometimes also serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as marriage equality.

Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist known as the “Mother of Pride”, coordinated the first Pride march in New York City and originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day, which inspired the annual LGBT+ pride celebrations that are now held every June.

How can I learn more about LGBT+ History Month and support LGBTQ+ colleagues and loved ones?

Credit: Inclusive Employers

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