LGBT+ History Month in the Workplace

What is LGBT+ History Month and how should your organisation participate? We’ve got all the answers here in this FAQ, scroll down to read more.

What is LGBT+ History Month?

It is a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans, and non-binary (LGBT+) history. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements. 

When is LGBT+ History Month?

Every year LGBT+ History Month takes place in February because that was when it was initiated by the LGBT+ Education charity ‘Schools Out UK’ in 2005.

Schools Out UK did this to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28, a law which was passed in 1988 to stop councils and schools from “promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” The law was partly inspired by a 1983 story book called ‘Jenny Lives with Eric and Martin’, which aimed to give children information about different types of family relationships.  

Why does LGBT+ History Month exist?

Sue Sanders, the co-founder of LGBT+ history month, said in a 2019 interview with the BBC that we need LGBT+ History month because:

“The ignorance is profound. And the ignorance has been deliberately done. We [the LGBT+ community] have a history, but we have been denied it. It’s great we have the laws in place, it’s great that we’re more visible, but who is visible? It’s white gay men. If you’re black, if you’re a lesbian, if you’re bisexual or if you’re trans – we have a lot of work to do.” 

LGBT+ History month exists to raise awareness the LGBT+ community’s history and promote equality.

How did LGBT+ history month start?

Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, the co-chairs of Schools Out UK, organised the event as part of a programme to educate young people about the issues members of the LGBT+ community face and to make schools inclusive for everyone, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.   

150 to 200 events took place across the UK to celebrate LGBT+ history month, exceeding Sue and Paul’s expectation of 15 to 20 events. LGBT+ History month has taken place every February ever since then.  

Why is LGBT+ History Month important? 

It gives us a chance to continue to educate ourselves on our history as a community, to take stock and realise just how good some of us have it. Find out more about why LGBT+ History Month exists here. But it’s also a chance to look at what hasn’t changed, whether that’s in the UK or worldwide, and what we can do to really embody the spirit of those LGBT+ heroes that came before us.

What is the difference between LGBT+ History Month and Pride Month?

Pride Month takes place in June and is when pride parades, outdoor events that celebrate LGBT+ acceptance and pride, usually take place. These sometimes also serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as marriage equality.  

Brenda Howard, a bisexual activist known as the “Mother of Pride”, coordinated the first Pride march in New York City and originated the idea for a week-long series of events around Pride Day, which inspired the annual LGBT+ pride celebrations that are now held every June.

What should businesses be doing for LGBT+ History Month?  

To celebrate LGBT+ History month and support LGBT+ colleagues during this event, businesses can:

  • Take action to make workplaces a safe space for LGBT+ colleagues and customers e.g., review your policies and protections for LGBT+ staff.   
  • Host webinars to raise awareness about LGBT+ topics and matters that affect the LGBT+ community. 
  • Promote the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people within the organisation by inviting these colleagues to share their experiences at meetings, events or webinars.    
  • Share LGBT+ resources with your colleagues to deepen their understanding of what it means to be LGBT+ and how this may impact their working lives. Inclusive Employers have resources like this that can be accessed in the member’s area for free. 
  • Communicate with their Marketing and Comms team to plan how the organisation will promote LGBT+ History Month in an inclusive manner. Inclusive Employers members can refer to our Inclusive Communications guide for more guidance.

How can businesses plan for LGBT+ History Month?

To plan for LGBT+ History Month, organisations can:

  • Invite LGBT+ colleagues, including any LGBT+ networks, to discuss the event and share any objectives that could be achieved through the campaign.
  • Prepare a project plan and assign tasks to members of your team to help promote awareness of LGBT+ History Month.   
  • Request a copy of our LGBT+ History Month package for tips on what they may need to consider in their plans. Inclusive Employers members receive this resource for free as part of their membership. 
  • Inclusive Employers members can contact their account manager for more support and guidance.