Fifty years… but the fight is not over.

This week we are sharing a guest blog from one of our Highland partners – James Cook, Quality Improvement Officer: Northern Alliance with Highland CouncilHere’s what James had to say about LGBT+ History Month and the importance of working in partnership to promote LGBT+ inclusion in the Highlands.

The 1st of February. For some this signifies a hopeful sign of spring and the brighter mornings yet to come. For others it’s a long sigh of relief that the long winter January days have come to an end. For me, and many others around the world, it’s a time of celebration… much like those celebrating the end of the darkness and the official welcome of the light… a celebration of difference, of acceptance… that of the rainbow kind.

1969, New York – following decades of oppression, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI+) community sought true inclusion; a time in history for activism. A time where the LGBTI+ community refused to be shut out from society because of who they were inside. And now, for fifty years, in different places across the world, pride events have been popping up each year to celebrate LGBTI+ inclusion and equality in communities big and small.

February 2019 – the beginning of LGBT History Month. In Scotland the theme: LGBT Catalyst. This year we celebrate the fifty years of activism in an effort to fight for LGBTI+ inclusion. But we know that fight is not over yet. Statistics from Stonewall, LGBT Youth Scotland and the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign all point to levels of LGBTI+ bullying and hate crime towards both those who do and do not identify as LGBTI+. The Scottish Government has made a commitment, aiming to become the first country to write LGBTI+ education and inclusion specifically into the curriculum. But schools need not do this all on their own…

Across Highland there is an active working group (sitting under Highland Council’s Care and Learning Equalities Improvement Group) that includes members from Highland Council, including schools, High Life Highland, the 3rd sector (including Waverley Care) and private sector businesses. Working together, they’re committed to supporting schools, youth groups and communities in developing LGBTI+ education and inclusion. The expertise of Waverley Care and Wave Highland within the group enables collaboration through inclusive sexual health and relationships education and LGBTI+ inclusive practice.

By standing together we can be the catalyst for LGBTI+ education and inclusion.

Five suggestions on how you can celebrate LGBT History Month 2019 in your school or youth group:

  1. Order free resource posters from Stonewall and display them throughout the school – we know from the research that visibility of acceptance has a positive impact.
  2. Hold an assembly to celebrate LGBT History Month using the resources from the LGBT Youth Scotland website.
  3. Celebrate Purple Friday on Friday 22nd February 2019 using the Purple Friday Toolkit.
  4. Use a picture book and the accompanying lesson plan from the picture book lesson plans – even if you don’t have copies of the books, many of the read-throughs can be accessed online.
  5. Check out the TIE Campaign’s ‘Moments that Shaped LGBT History’ and ‘Icons who made LGBT History’, and LGBT Youth Scotland’s ‘LGBT Mapping Across Curriculum for Excellence’ to develop LGBTI+ inclusion and education across the curriculum.

For more information, check out the HCLBTI+ Twitter Page.