Activism: LGBT+ History Month

LGBT+ History Month 2020; Poetry, Prose and Plays

Today is the start of #LGBTHistoryMonth and an opportunity to remember the trans and gender non-conforming activists who fought for equality, and how important it is to continue the vital and life-saving work which they started.

LGBT History Month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT. While it was first known as Lesbian and Gay History Month, the coordinating committee soon added "bisexual" to the title. It has subsequently become known as LGBT History Month.

The overall aim of LGBT+ History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public.

  • Increasing the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (“LGBT+”) people, their history, lives and their experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community

  • Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBT+ community;

  • Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBT+ communities;

  • Promoting the welfare of LGBT+ people, by ensuring that the education system recognises and enables LGBT+ people to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives, thus benefiting society as a whole.

As we explore some of LGBT+ History Month 2020's 'Hidden Gems' you might find new facts for your knowledge base!

Dawn Langley Pepita Simmons (c.1922 – 2000): our trans Face is probably the least well-known but undoubtedly had a fascinating story.

The child of Vita Sackville West’s chauffeur, before transitioning Dawn wrote an acclaimed biography of Princess Margaret.

After transition she wrote a biography of eccentric actress Dame Margaret Rutherford, and was semi-adopted by her. But probably most interesting is the fact that Dawn’s marriage to John-Paul Simmons on 21 January 1969 was the first legal interracial marriage in South Carolina!

E.M. Forster (1879 – 1970): gay author, widely regarded as one of the greatest British writers of the 20th century.

‘A Passage To India’ brought him his first success, and he has had several other books adapted as Merchant Ivory films – ‘A Room With A View’, ‘Where Angels Fear To Tread’ and most significantly ‘Maurice’, a gay love story.

Forster wrote the novel in 1913, but left instructions that it was not to be published after he died. This year is the 50th anniversary of Edward Morgan Forster’s death, and we anticipate there will be much in the media about him.

Lorraine Hansberry (1930 – 1965): lesbian playwright; author of ‘A Raisin In The Sun’, the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway.

The title comes from the poem “Harlem” (also known as “A Dream Deferred“) by Langston Hughes. For some time the play was part of the O Level and GCSE syllabuses.

Hansberry inspired the song by Nina Simone “To Be Young, Gifted and Black“.

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616): quintessentially British, we have chosen Shakespeare as our bisexual reference, as his work is very much at the heart of the English curriculum. This is important given the ongoing difficulties over inclusive teaching. Sonnet 20 is widely quoted as being written about a man.

Sonnet 20 is most often considered to be a member of the "Fair Youth" group of sonnets, in which most scholars agree that the poet addresses a young man.

This interpretation contributes to a common assumption of the homosexuality of Shakespeare, or at least the speaker of his sonnet.

Further Information is available online at LGBT+ History Month and SchoolsOUT


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