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LGBTQUIA+ History Month

Photo: Gay Liberation Front at Britain’s First LGBT+ Pride in 1972.

LGBTQUIA+ History Month is celebrated annually in February

LGBTQUIA+ History Month is observed throughout February, it is an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans history, and the history of the LGBTQUIA+ rights and related civil rights movements.

The overall aim of LGBTQUIA+ History month is to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public. This is done by:

  • Increasing the visibility of LGBTQUIA+ people, their history, lives, and experiences in the curriculum and culture of educational and other institutions, and the wider community.
  • Raising awareness and advancing education on matters affecting the LGBTQUIA+ community.
  • Working to make educational and other institutions safe spaces for all LGBTQUIA+ communities.
  • Promoting the welfare of LGBTQUIA+ people, by ensuring that the education system recognises and enables LGBTQUIA+ people to achieve their full potential, so they contribute fully to society and lead fulfilled lives, thus benefiting society as a whole.

See upcoming events for LGBTQUIA+ History Month 2023 and other resources on the Queering University webpages.


The Stonewall riots (28 June 1969)

The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the LGBTQUA+ community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of 28 June 1969 at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

"On June 28th, 1969, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against what had become regular, tolerated, city sanctioned harassment by the police department. For the first time in history Gay people refused to accept the status quo of oppression and stood up for themselves and, ultimately, the global Gay community. The Stonewall Inn, and the rebellion here, became the iconic flashpoint that sparked the long, uphill battle towards equality for all members of the Gay community. Often referred to as the “Rosa Parks moment” in Gay history the Stonewall rebellion paved the way for future members of the community to not accept treatment as second-class citizens but rather to expect that the LGBT community be treated as equals in the eyes of both the government and society at large"

Source: The BirthplaceLink opens in a new window (The Stonewall Inn).


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (c. late 1600s) letters to Vicereine Maria Luisa de la Paredes

But, [Maria Luisa], why go on?
For yourself alone I love you.
Considering your merits,
what more is there to say?
That you’re a woman far away
is no hindrance to my love:
for the soul, as you well know,
distance and sex don’t count

Can you wonder my love sought you out?
Why need I stress that I’m true,
when every one of your features
betokens my enslavement?

Source: Sapphistries: A Global History of Love Between WomenLink opens in a new window (Leila J. Rupp).


Jalal al-Din Rumi

"Jalal al-Din Rumi was a poet, theologian and Sufi mystic.

Rumi was married and had one son. After his wife’s death, he remarried and fathered two more children. In 1244, Rumi met a man who changed his life. Shams of Tabriz was an older Sufi master who became Rumi’s spiritual mentor and constant companion. After Shams died, Rumi grieved for years. He began expressing his love and bereavement in poetry, music and dance.

Rumi had two other male companions, but none would replace his beloved Shams. One of Rumi’s major poetic works is named in honor of his master, "The Works of Shams of Tabriz." Rumi’s best-known work is "Spiritual Couplets," a six-volume poem often referred to as the greatest work of mystical poetry.

In 'Rumi: The Book of Love Poems of Ecstasy and Longing', Rumi expresses his perception of true love. 'Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along'"

Source: Jalal al-Din Rumi BiographyLink opens in a new window (LGBT History Month).


Roberta Cowell

Roberta Cowell is the first known British trans woman to undergo reassignment surgery in 1951.

Roberta Cowell was a racing driver and World War II fighter pilot. She was born in Croydon and studied engineering at University College London (UCL).

She underwent a secret procedure in order to get a certificate stating that she was intersex. This enabled her to undergo surgery and get a new birth certificate.


Marsha P Johnson

Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist and self-identified drag queen. Known as an outspoken advocate for gay rights, Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Johnson co-founded the gay and trans advocacy organization S.T.A.R. (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries). A popular figure in New York City's gay and art scene, Johnson modelled for Andy Warhol, and performed onstage with the drag performance troupe, Hot Peaches. Known for decades as a welcoming presence in the streets of Greenwich Village, Johnson was known as the "mayor of Christopher Street“ (the street that the Stonewall Inn is on). From 1987 through 1992, Johnson was an AIDS activist with ACT UP.


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