LGBT History Month: Things to do in London to celebrate and educate
LGBT History Month is a month-long celebration of LGBTQ history, including the history of the fight for equality through the civil rights movements.
No matter your vibe, there’ll be an LGBT History Month event that’ll appeal. Talks, shows, tours and exhibitions are all launching this month in line with queer historical themes. Plenty of London museums, organisations and cultural institutions are running events to educate and celebrate.
Here’s a selection of some of the best things to do this LGBT History Month.
Go to an eye-opening exhibition about LGBTQ people living outside of major cities
The Out On An Island exhibition features portraits and recordings of LGBTQ people living on the Isle of Wight. The point the curators are making is that life outside of cities can often be harder for queer people. Individuals featured are all of different ages and from different backgrounds, one is a retired school teacher who came out during a board meeting discussion around Section 28, the Conservative policy which forbade teachers from educating about LGBTQ issues until it was overthrown in 2003.
Book tickets to Travis Alabanza’s wonderful new show Sound of the Underground
We adored the new Royal Court show Sound of the Underground, and a photo from the production is at the top of this article. The show feels potent for LGBT History Month: it’s all about workers’ rights and the fight for fair pay for queer performers, who work tirelessly and are an essential part of the community but often up financially short. It’s a ballistic display of colourful drag, with wonderful songs. Read more about how much we loved it here.
More theatre with LGBTQ themes
Not technically LGBT History Month events, there are a range of shows with queer themes running this month. Kissed by a Flame, a show about queer love in Islington, runs at The Pleasance runs 1 – 11 Feb; My Brother’s Keeper at Theatre503 explores the territory where immigration, religion and sexuality meet and runs 1 – 11 Feb; Tiny Fragments of Beautiful Light is an immersive story about one lesbian’s journey of self discovery and runs until 18 Feb at the Alphabetti Theatre.
Royal Museums Greenwich celebrate LGBTQ History
History is being retold from an LGBTQ perspective in Greenwich with a series of events running throughout February. Drag performers run guided tours, there’s a queer-themed night on board the iconic Cutty Sark ship, celebrations of queer maritime history and LGBTQ family activities. There is also a self-guided trail at the Science Museum that gives a queer perspective on exhibits that takes in 8 exhibits. If you’re into museums, why not take this opportunity to visit the UK’s first Queer Museum, which has celebrated its first anniversary.
A new LGBTQ podcast
Memories From The Dancefloor celebrates LGBTQ venues from the past and features interviews with prominent queer individuals. Amy Lame and Heaven founder Jeremy Norman feature on initial episodes, released to coincide with LGBT History Month. Episodes focus on the staff, artists and the people that went to the venues. The AIDS epidemic and trans inclusion will be two of the narratives explored. Memories From The Dancefloor “shines a light on the history of these incredible spaces, taking us under the rope and into the queer chaos, joy and community within them,” says preview material. The Proud Trust website is also launching their own digital educational tool offering schools, parents, carers, community groups, individuals and young people the opportunity to try craft-based activities to learn more about LGBTQ culture and history.
Try a queer botany class
Botanical history will be retold through a queer perspective at the Chelsea Psychic Garden this February. “Trails, workshops and talks will highlight the important role members of the community have played in horticulture, as well as exploring sexuality and gender through plants,” says press material. The garden has existed for 350 years but LGBT History Month’s events will shed new light on the queer stories behind the gardens – finding stories that have never been told. Events include a queer botanical drawing evening, a poetry reading and panel discussion.
The stories of LGBTQ people over 50
LGBTQ and over 50? Submit your artwork to the ‘Behind The Lens’ exhibit at Bishopsgate Institute, running 22 – 25 February. It’s run by Opening Doors, one of the largest UK charities amplifying the voices of LGBTQ people over the age of 50. On 22 February the public are invited to see the works submitted at a launch event from 6 – 9pm. The charity say: “This is an exciting opportunity to showcase their artwork to the public and contribute to an organisation with a steep history connected to the LGBTQ+ community.”
Read about more things to do in London at City A.M. Life&Style