February is LGBTQ+ History Month!
At Red Balloon, we celebrate and embrace all of our students and the differences that make them wonderful and unique. Many of our staff and students are part of the LGBTQ+ community and have found a welcoming home at Red Balloon.
As a society, we have become far more accepting of LGBTQ+ people than we were 100 years ago. Young people in particular are growing up with more exposure to different genders, sexualities and ways of expressing themselves than ever before.
Because of this, some ask questions like ‘Why celebrate LGBTQ+ history month?’ or ‘Why make a big deal out of it? I don’t care who you’re with, being gay is normal!’
So here are a few reasons why we still need LGBTQ+ history month:
- Not every pocket of the world, or even the UK feels this way. There is still an enormous amount of LGBTQ+ phobia and hatred. This is especially true for trans people. In fact, 9% of Trans pupils in schools receive death threats at school – and these are only the ones who felt they could disclose (Stonewall, 2017). LGBTQ+ history month raises the profile of LGBTQ+ people and reminds us all that LGBTQ+ people have always and will always exist, and will continue to be more and more visible.
- History is often written and taught by the victors. LGBTQ+ people and other marginalized groups are often completely erased from history or have their identities hidden away. In addition, when creating curriculums schools don’t always have diversity and diverse role models at the top of the agenda. This results in our history books being filled with the achievements of privileged classes.
- When our history books look like that it’s difficult for LGBTQ+ young people (and young people of other marginalized groups) to see themselves reflected in history when the truth is LGBTQ+ people have always existed – even the Vikings were gay! LGBTQ+ young people miss out on awesome and accomplished role models and it perpetuates the ‘othering’ that many already feel every day.
- It is fantastic that people of the same gender can get married and that a school cannot discriminate against a trans young person, but it wasn’t always like that. In fact, it has been less than 20 years since Section 28 was repealed in the UK. LGBTQ+ history month is important because we fought for the rights we have today and it’s important to remember and honour those who got us here, many of whom are still very much alive today. It’s also a great time to recognize that the rights we have are not universal. In at least 67 countries same-sex relations are a criminal offence. There is still lots of work to be done!
- When we know how we got the rights we have and how LGBTQ+ people before us changed history we are better prepared to take on the LGBTQ+ justice issues of today!
Red Balloon of the Air is continuing its diversity, equity and inclusion work with its three Diversity and Inclusion Champions, students are discussing LGBTQ+ history month in their Online Community and in LGBTQ+ club students are digging deep into some of the trailblazers that changed LGBTQ+ history.
Red Balloon is proud to support and champion our LGBTQ+ staff and students and we know one day they can make history too!