LGBT History Month in the UK
Rainbows can not only be seen in the sky, during February. You can see them in several places. This is because it is LBGT History Month and the rainbow flag embodies the support for this community.
To make that clear, the abbreviation LGBT stands for Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender. But it is used as an umbrella term for pretty much everyone who does not consider themselves to be clearly straight/heterosexual and like the gender they were assigned at birth. Some people add a Q to the term which either stands for Quer or Questioning. Both means you don’t completely accept the binary system of male and female and don’t think that just the opposite sex is supposed to have relationships.
Working for a sexual health charity that has a long history in the work with all kind of people, straight as well as gay or with a different sexuality, I had to deal a lot with those terms and also talked to a lot of people who are involved in the support for the LBGT community. Clearly it was harder to be part of the minority in the earlier days (30 years ago). But also nowadays there is not really much support out there for LGBTQ+ people.
Nevertheless being part of the group makes you a vulnerable person. A lot of people suffer from mental health issues like depression and self harm and generally feel like they can not find a place in society. Especially young people struggle with rejection and exclusion as well as bullying or even abuse within their families, friend groups or in school. A big problem is that society is still behind. While the majority of the younger generation now accept that there is not just “one way” to have a relationship, teachers often still do not know how to react to bullying or parents struggle with finding out what might be “wrong” in their eyes. The society generally expects you to fit in the system of girls with boyfriends and boys with girlfriends including typical roles within your relationship. LGBT people can rarely refer to any advertisements, films or books. So more and more the feeling arises that you do not really fit in.
However, a lot of organisations already contribute support the LGBT community. They create safe spaces where people can feel free to talk about their feelings and struggles. Bars and Lounges have partys just for people from this community for example. The council even launches public events and panel discussions with guest speakers to raise awareness about the topic. In schools counselling is offered and small support groups arise. Others just put out the rainbow flag which promotes equality of everyone regardless of their sexuality and gender.
This month was assigned to be LGBT history month to memorise all the people who struggle with discrimination mental health, exclusion and punishment as a cause of inequality. Additionally it was created to make the public aware about the fact that it is still a long road to legal equality amongst people. But as an individual you can contribute something with simply accepting the diversity of people out their. Everyone has got different preferences. Some people do not like eating broccoli as well as some people are simply attracted to the same sex or both sex or no one. There is no reason for not acknowledging this.
February 2016 was another success for promoting support for the LGBT community out there and thankfully we can say it is getting more and more.