Believing in LGBT people – My review of LGBT History Month part 1 #LGBTHM

LGBT History Month has taken place in the UK every February since 2004, organised by Schools Out UK, a campaigning group for LGBT people in education, and taking inspiration from the annual commemoration in October each year in the USA.

It’s a chance to celebrate the lives and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people from our past and present. Each year it takes a theme from the education curriculum – this year it was ‘Religion, Belief and Philosophy’.

It’s a controversial but important choice of theme – religion continues to dominate discussion of LGBT issues around the world. Tony Fenwick, CEO of Schools Out UK and LGBT History Month, explained in an article for Gay Star News:

Our duty…is to represent our community in all its diversity, so we must support LGBTI people of all religions and none

while acknowledging that

Religious doctrine has brought harm to many in the LGBTI community, including despair, suicide, murder, torture and execution, both in the past and in the present

and seeking common ground in the fact that

religions promote universal love, as well as demanding we do not judge. These ideals can form the basis of a dialogue based on mutual resect and understanding. We need to hold out the olive branch here.

As an LGBT awareness trainer and co-facilitator of a monthly Christian service for the LGBT community in Liverpool, I made hay while the sun shone and took part in as many events as possible to share good practice in making our communities safer and more inclusive for all.

I was invited to speak at three events:

I organised two events:

I also contributed to the Barnardo’s Faith Toolkit (see part 5), and Stonewall’s Role Models campaign (see part 6). I also attended a performance of The Gospel According to Jesus Queen of Heaven, a one person show in which Christ is portrayed as a trans woman, with a powerful and emotive performance (see part 4).

I also planned an event for Christians involved with, or interested in, ministry for LGBT people. Unfortunately our facilitator, Terry Weldon, author of the Queering the Church blog, was unwell, so we will explore a new date for this as soon as possible.

Over the next six posts I will share details of these events to demonstrate the value of LGBT History Month and, in particular, the importance of this year’s theme.

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