LGBT History Month takes place every February. Established in 2005 in the UK, it provides an opportunity for everyone to learn about the history of LGBT people — and for LGBT people to celebrate and promote our visible presence. Being ‘pink’ is still hard for many people today…
People sent to the European death camps in the 1930s and 40s had a symbol on their prison clothes showing why they were there; a pink triangle signified ‘gay’. It was adopted as a symbol of gay pride in the 1970s. In Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and parts of Nigeria and Somalia, male-to-male relationships can still end in execution by the state. In Iran, the death sentence applies to female-to-female relationships too.*
In England, men having consensual sex with men in private faced prison until 1967. Prison remained a threat until 1994 if one partner was under 21 and until 2000 if one was under 18. The age of consent is now 16 for all. Same-sex relationships are still illegal in 76 countries. Imprisonment is used in a majority of these countries, many with sentences of 10 or more years. Only male-to-male relationships are banned in some of these countries.*
Back in 2005, we performed in Lewisham to launch a photographic exhibition charting Pride events as part of LGBT History Month. It was a special evening as recent British LGBT history had not really been taken seriously until that time; before it had been only Radclyffe Hall, Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward!
We’ve been participating in LGBT History Month ever since. We are proud to be pink!
For more information, go to www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk
*Source: State-Sponsored Homophobia published in 2010 by ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association)
Timeline datestamp: 04 February 2005