Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month in Lockdown

I won’t lie to you, Lockdown 3.0 has put me in a real slump. I feel demotivated, uninspired and tired all the time, and I am sure many others feel the same. It is hard, trying to engage with content and write meaningful content yourselves, when the world seems so dim and the days so very very long. However February and March have always been really exciting periods for me, because they consist of LGBTQ+ History Month (Feb) and Women’s History Month (March). Though this year will be different, and celebrations that normally take place in person will be existing in online spaces, I am determined to get out of my slump and celebrate these months to the best of my ability – and I want you dear reader, to do the same.

I would also like to say that, for the record, I truly believe that the likes of LGBTQ+ History, Women/Gender History and Black History should all be universally recognised as just plain history. The lives and experiences of these communities are not abnormal, they are not wrong and they should certainly not be overlooked. They should be accepted as legitimate narratives within History, and be celebrated and taught all year round. HOWEVER, until that happens, LGBTQ+ History Month, Women’s History Month and Black History Month are helping pave the way to make this dream of inclusive History a reality. They should be embraced, enjoyed and protected. It is only through exposure that this can happen. So please, this February take the opporuntity to post, to tweet, to shout from the rooftops in support and solidarity with LGBTQ+ Community and it’s history. Solidarity matters, exposure matters, and if people show support we can change the narrative of ‘accepted’ history in this country.

Below I have compiled a short list of how I will be celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month this year, whilst still in lockdown – because let’s be real, the entire month of February is going to remain this way and I am determined to make it as joyous as I possibly can. Please have a read through, take any tips and look me up on twitter so we can have some fun online discussions to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month (@MollyAnneBC)

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  • Attend online conferences/events – Because lockdown has lasted an excruciating length of time, people have really been able to develop and produce brilliant online events. Though obviously not the same as experiencing these talks live, you are still able to learn a lot, and I think gain a lot personally from attending. There are also advantages to having events online, you can attend events that you wouldn’t usually be able to make, many of them are free, and many of them are posted online after so you may watch whenever you have spare time! You can view the official calendar for LGBTQ+ History month here, I’ve had a look through and some of the talks look so interesting. I’m planning to watch ‘The importance of working class LGBTQ woman in history‘ on Feb 10th, ‘Outing the Past’ on Feb 13th, ‘Beyond the Binary: Scientific Thinking about Sex 1900-1950‘ on Feb 16th and ‘AIDS: Prejudice, Prevention and Publicity on the 26th Feb. All these events are free and open to anyone, if you want to learn more about the community and it’s history in a more academic format, I urge you to check out the calendar, and sign up to some events yourself!
  • Educate myself through podcasts & articles and blogposts – Sometimes academic conferences and texts can seem a little heavy for what should be a celebratory month. They are of course important don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I like to learn in a more casual way. And that is where podcasts and articles come in. I genuinely think podcasts are a brilliant way to learn about history, and I personally find them really entertaining and thought provoking. Likewise articles and blogposts are shorter, more casually written and overall less pressure to read. I found these lists: 8 LGBTQ+ History Podcasts and 12 Podcasts About LGBTQ+ History recently and I plan to listen to as many of them as possible this month. Many of these podcasts deal with individuals of the past who could fit under the umbrella term ‘queer’, however two podcasts caught my attention, The Deviant’s World and History is Gay, both of which deal more with arguments and debates from the LGBTQ+ community and it’s history, something that I am interested to explore more. Like podcasts, articles and blogposts are a really good way to educate yourself and engage with LGBTQ+ History month, and a lot of the time they can be more personal and intimate compared to more academic based books or conferences. I have been search LGBTQ+ History Month on Google and Twitter recently, and reading anything that comes up that peaks my interest, this is a really easy way to find content and I encourage you to do the same!
  • Watch content about LGBTQ+ History – My personal favourite on this list. You will know if you follow my account that I love Historical entertainment. I could talk about it for days, and I am always looking for something new to consume. One of the main things I am going to be doing this February to celebrate LGBTQ+ History month, is binge watching as much queer content as I can. That can be through films, through television shows or through documentaries. I also find it really interesting when I’m watching, to read articles and interviews with the cast and creators to find out what they felt was important to include in their story, what was the history they felt should be told, and what was left out? I have explored this idea of LGBTQ+ Public History in two blogpost previously which you can find here and here. It’s something I am really passionate about, and it’s a debate I think is really important to acknowledge and understand, the best way to do that is to start watching! Some of my favourite LGBTQ+ content that I have watched so far are as follows: FILM (Vita and Virginia, 120 BPM and Pride); TV (Pose and It’s a Sin) and Documentaries (Circus of Books, Stonewall Forever and Disclosure).
  • Engage with social media accounts – I know there can be some contention about how influential hashtag activism really is, and whether it is just a performative stunt or something actually sincere. I do think if you follow the right accounts you can engage with some really interesting content, and partake in a modern form of activism. Instagram for example, is a really interactive app which allows you to engage with the community, and showcase your support. It’s also a good place to post about all the other content you are engaging with from this list; you can link to a particular article you enjoyed, or flag a podcast ep you’re listening to, and in that way influence others to explore similar content. Social Media can be a terrible place, but it can also be a really wonderful place, where you can find new LGBTQ+ shows/articles/artists/podcasts to interact with, where you can find other members of the community, and where you can continue to stay educated in small, daily doses. There is also something to be said about viewing positive LGBTQ+ content whenever you go onto a social media app, I think it’s really nice to be scrolling through and see a little post of solidarity, positivity and activism. That can only encourage and empower people. Some good accounts to follow are @lgbthistorymonth, @queerloveinhistory, @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y and @lgbt_history.

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These are the main ways I’m planning to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, I hope they gave you some inspiration as to how you can do the same! I know this is a strange and difficult time for all of us, but it is important that we find little ways to spark joy and celebrate those who really deserve it.

Happy LGBTQ+ History Month Everyone!

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