This week marks the start of LGBTQ+ History Month and we’re incredibly proud to once again be supporting this annual celebration across our borough and within our communities.
To kickstart celebrations, we’re raising the pride rainbow flag on our magnificent town hall and lighting the tower up in rainbow colours, symbolising our commitment to inclusion and equality in our communities.
LGBTQ+ History Month was founded in the UK in 2004 and has been celebrated every February since 2005, coinciding with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 – an act which stopped schools and councils ‘promoting’ homosexuality.
The month-long celebration provides an opportunity to remember and celebrate our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender heritage and ongoing commitment to drive equality and inclusion for all. It’s also an opportunity for us to celebrate the diverse communities we see today and reflect on what else can be done to strengthen equality within our borough.
We have several things planned to celebrate the month, here’s a snapshot of what to look out for:
- Barnsley Libraries will be signposting residents to a carefully selected collection of LGBTQ+ eBooks and eAudiobooks. The collection will be live on their eBook/eAudiobook site and apps throughout the month. The dedicated LGBTQ+ displays in the libraries themselves are always worth a look too.
- Barnsley Museums continue to exhibit their ever-growing collection of fascinating historical items donated by the LGBTQ+ community in Barnsley. The exhibit, representing Barnsley’s rainbow heritage, can be found in Experience Barnsley: Museum & Discovery Centre but you can read all about the different items on the museum’s blog. We’re always looking to add to the collection, so if you have any objects that represent our LGBTQ+ community, we'd love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Our friends at Barnsley Civic are celebrating the month with their exhibition, Wildlife: 70 years of LGBTQ+ youth culture in Barnsley, part of their wider Historic England funded project, Teenage Wildlife. The exhibition celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month, looking at LGBT+ and queer youth culture in Barnsley over the last 70 years. We’ve also supported this project by providing exhibits from our Experience Barnsley collection.
- Barnsley Civic are also delighted to present their main gallery exhibition, a partnership with Tate – Diane Arbus. Considered one of the great figures of American photography, she was one of the first photographers to feature the transgender community and people with learning disabilities.
- We will also be delivering an online LGBTQ+ History Month social media programme to showcase some of Barnsley’s historical LGBTQ+ figures, significant places and items from our rich heritage. Please keep an eye out on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
This year, we’re also delighted to be raising awareness of LGBTQ+ History Month with our employees, taking the opportunity to further promote our equality initiatives and the progress we have made towards being an all-inclusive organisation that’s an employer of choice.
This includes the promotion of our Proud Network, which was set up to offer a safe place for LGBTQ+ employees and build a real sense of community, and a series of special events:
- A LGBTQ+ social evening.
- LGBTQ+ History Month staff quiz, which is open to all LGBTQ+ employees, allies and Barnsley’s LGBTQ+ Community Forum members.
- Promotion of our training courses.
- A dedicated LGBTQ+ ‘Coming Out’ webinar.
Councillor Caroline Makinson, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health and Communities, said: “I’m delighted to see that we’re supporting LGBTQ+ History Month again this year in Barnsley.
“It’s wonderful to see the pride flag flying on the town hall - a real symbol of our rich LGBTQ+ past, the wonderful diverse communities we see today and our real commitment to drive forward and create an even more inclusive borough for our future generations.”
Please follow our social media pages to keep up to date with what’s happening during the month.