February is LGBT History Month – a month of looking back at the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements – celebrating how far we have come in the fight for equality. For allies, it’s a chance to better understand the struggles that LGBT+ people face and how to better support them.
Schools Out UK, an educational charity founded in 1974, is leading the coverage of this year’s celebration and aiming to raise awareness of important issues in education. The theme for this year’s LGBT History Month is Peace, Activism and Reconciliation. It is an important year for the community as it marks 50 years of the Stonewall riots – a pivotal moment in the history of the LGBT rights movement.
Why inclusivity is important
To mark LGBT History Month at GOSH, we caught up with Jose, from the Physiotherapy team, to hear his story and find out why inclusivity is so important.
“As a gay teenager in regional São Paulo, only heterosexual relationships were openly acknowledged.
“As a result, I was unaware of the celebrations for LGBT History Month and didn’t have a friendship group in school to support me. I always felt lonely and was frequently bullied, and I ended up suffering on my own.
“At school, the best time for me was when the final bell rang and I went home to hide in my room and play with my sisters’ dolls. My parents were very strict and unaccepting of anything but their version of ‘normal’ – pink and dolls were for girls, blue and cars were for boys.
“Nowadays, learning about different sexualities is embedded in school curricula, and educators promote equality and diversity for everyone. Teachers are aware of diversity and variety in a modern family structure. Pupils come from diverse backgrounds and want to be free to be themselves.
“It’s great to see how much the LGBT community has achieved since the New York Stonewall riots in 1969, where we fought for the right to be human.
“Although we have come far, there is a lot more to learn and overcome. Today I’m happy to be a LGBT changemaker – not just victim of prejudice (for having fabulous shoes!). I live in a country where I can tell my colleagues that I have been with my husband for 10 years and feel unafraid.
“The LGBT community has been working hard to promote diversity and I believe this will continue – we want to show everyone that ‘normal’ is being ourselves.
“I’m proud to be gay and I’m proud to be an ambassador for the GOSH LGBT network. I look forward to contributing to raising awareness within the GOSH community and celebrating more achievements during LGBT History Month
Find out more
GOSH launched a LGBT+ and Allies Forum last October, the aim of which is to ensure the Trust recognises and involves staff and volunteers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or non-binary (LGBT+), relationship diverse or as an LGBT+ ally.
For more information, or if you would like to join the GOSH LGBT+ Forum, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of the Forum Executives.