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EV­ERY FE­BRU­ARY THE LGBT HIS­TORY MONTH CEL­E­BRATES THE LIVES AND ACHIEVE­MENTS OF LGBT PEO­PLE. JULIE BREM­NER OF THE HIS­TORY MONTH TAKES A LOOK AT THIS YEAR’S THEME

Pride Life Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Fe­bru­ary cel­e­brates Gay His­tory Month

The LGBT His­tory Month takes place ev­ery year in Fe­bru­ary and is a se­ries of events through­out the UK cel­e­brat­ing the lives and achieve­ments of the LGBT com­mu­nity. The idea came from School’s Out!, a cam­paign­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion of LGBT peo­ple in­volved in ed­u­ca­tion, and partly took its in­spi­ra­tion from the USA where a LGBT His­tory Month has been cel­e­brated since 1994.

Each year LGBT His­tory Month fo­cuses on a spe­cific sub­ject area from the school cur­ricu­lum. 2013 was ded­i­cated to STEM (Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Maths) and we held our pre-launch party at Bletch­ley Park to study and en­gage stu­dents and guests with the work of, amongst oth­ers, Alan Tur­ing, the math­e­ma­ti­cian who broke the Enigma code. Past pre-launches have been held at the Royal Courts of Jus­tice, the Oval, and the Bri­tish Mu­seum.

2014’s LGBT His­tory Month is ded­i­cated to Mu­sic. This year we are cel­e­brat­ing four LGBT mu­si­cians. The “Faces of ’14” are com­posers Ethel Smyth, Ben­jamin Brit­ten and An­gela Mor­ley, and singer Bessie Smith.

We know there are many more well-known and popular LGBT peo­ple in the mu­sic in­dus­try but we chose them, as learn­ing more about them will en­able us to recog­nise the rich­ness of con­tri­bu­tion, the va­ri­ety of skill and the ded­i­ca­tion and pas­sion rep­re­sented by th­ese four peo­ple who have not al­ways re­ceived the at­ten­tion and cel­e­bra­tion they de­serve.

Ob­vi­ously given that this is the year of Brit­ten’s 100th and Ethel Smyth’s 70th an­niver­saries, there will be main­stream cel­e­bra­tions of their work, more for the for­mer than the lat­ter, we guess.

How­ever, we wanted to make sure that th­ese LGBT mu­si­cians were cel­e­brated for who they were as well as what they did. For who they were did clearly in­spire their work and is cru­cial for us to know to both un­der­stand their work, and to un­der­stand the rich­ness of hu­man ex­pe­ri­ence. We are par­tic­u­larly in­debted to both Black and LGBT peo­ple in the mu­sic world, a fact that is fre­quently ne­glected and we are the poorer for it. Such in­vis­i­bil­ity per­pet­u­ates racism and homo/trans­pho­bia.

We hope that you will be in­spired to ex­plore how you might cel­e­brate LGBT his­tory Month this Fe­bru­ary 2014. Go to lgbthis­to­ry­month.org.uk for in­for­ma­tion on the “Faces of ‘14”, a cal­en­dar of events where you can put your own events, and dis­cover what is hap­pen­ing.

CLOCK­WISE FROM TOP: ETHEL SMYTH; BEN­JAMIN BRIT­TEN; BESSIE SMITH ( PHOTO CARL VAN VECHTEN)

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