In February, York St John University’s LGBT Staff Network and Faculty of Arts coordinated a city-wide campaign for LGBT History Month, featuring more than twenty public events from over ten organisations all brought together in a professionally-designed programme1.
Due to the success of this, the first ever collaborative LGBT History Month campaign in York, an independent organisation was established to coordinate efforts in future years. The resulting organisation, York LGBT History Month, consists of a team of four led by Andy Law, the Lead Coordinator, who spearheaded the 2014 campaign2.
York LGBT History Month has already served to promote LGBT history-themed events outside of LGBT History Month, and plans for the 2015 campaign are well underway, with a greater number of events from a wider range of organisations and individuals already in development, and many more expected. Plans are also underway for school outreach work, involving volunteers going into secondary schools and delivering sessions that explore LGBT history narratives within the framework of the existing curricula.
LGBT History Month is celebrated worldwide, and 2015 will mark the tenth anniversary of the national LGBT History Month campaign. York LGBT History Month may well be the only local LGBT History Month organisation in the UK.
Andy Law, Lead Coordinator, said:
York LGBT History Month serves to increase public awareness of the place of LGBT people in history, bringing to light stories that might have traditionally been ignored. We are working to develop inclusivity, challenge stereotypes and promote understanding. Our programme of events will provide a wide variety of ways for the public to engage with these stories, and our school outreach will serve to reinforce the principle of inclusion at a key developmental stage.
York LGBT History Month welcomes individuals, groups and organisations to come forward to support the campaign with events, time or material contributions. The deadline for submissions into the programme for February 2015 is Friday 19 December 2014.
1 Last year’s events included a conference, talks, a lecture, film screenings, an exhibition, a play, a football match, a quiz night, public meetings and support groups.
Organisations involved included: York Pride, York LGBT Forum, Yorkshire MESMAC, York St John University, York St John Students’ Union, the University of York, the University of York Students’ Union (YUSU), York Graduate Students’ Association, City of York Council, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, York City FC, Yorkwalk and City Screen.
2 The organisation’s aims are to:
- coordinate and promote a unified and cohesive programme for LGBT History Month, bringing together events from groups, organisations and individuals across York, and in doing so promoting collaboration and raising the profile of the observance;
- develop initiatives that directly challenge cisnormativity, heteronormativity and silencing by increasing the accessibility of LGBT narratives in York, in turn fostering a greater understanding of issues and achievements both past and present;
- promote York-based events and initiatives with an LGBT history theme that fall outside of LGBT History Month;
- work with other local LGBT groups and organisations, as well as sympathetic parties, in any other way to promote equality, diversity and social inclusion for the public benefit of the people of York and North Yorkshire by the elimination of discrimination towards LGBT people.