A series of blogs will be published on the LGBT History Month Scotland website which explore hard-hitting themes
February marks the start of LGBT History Month, and this year campaigners in Scotland are putting the spotlight on past and present LGBT+ rights around the world.
LGBT History Month Scotland supports organisations to host their own events for History Month, by creating an annual theme and sharing content to raise awareness.
The theme for this year is Blurring Borders: A World in Motion, and there are already more than 30 events registered on this website, with more coming in each day.
Since 2007, LGBT History Month Scotland has been coordinated by LGBT Youth Scotland, Scotland’s national charity supporting LGBT young people.
Chief executive Mhairi Crawford said:“This year, it felt more important than ever to use LGBT History Month to demonstrate the strength of solidarity at home and around the world.
“Globally, LGBT people and their allies are living through a fragile moment in history. Across Europe, there are efforts being made to roll back LGBT rights.
“Meanwhile, the UK has just been marked out by the Council of Europe as one among a few countries where rising anti-LGBT hate is of particular concern.
“We also know that the UK government plans to host its first global LGBT conference, Safe to Be Me, in London this summer.
“By giving History Month an international focus, we’re inviting people and organisations across Scotland to share their ideas about what an equal world for LGBT people would really look like – and how we can work together to achieve it.”
In one of her final acts as minister of Europe, culture and international development, new transport minister Jenny Gilruth pre-recorded a video message in support of LGBT History Month, in which she also noted that she is a “member of the LGBT community”.
Gilruth said: “I feel extremely privileged to speak to you during LGBT History Month, particularly given this year’s theme of blurring borders.
“Scotland is an inclusive nation which promotes, protects and fulfils internationally recognised human rights. We work hard to ensure that nobody is denied rights or opportunities because of their sexuality or gender.
“Thinking beyond borders and considering the experience of LGBT communities overseas is an important reminder that we must always safeguard our achievements and strive to do better.
“Historically we see that countries with the courage to take the right step set an example for others to follow.
“I am proud to say that we have understood and embraced that responsibility in Scotland for some years now.
“As LGBT communities in some countries around the world continue to face discrimination and even persecution, we remain committed to equality and inclusion, and we will take action to protect and promote these however and wherever we can.”
LGBT History Month Scotland is part of an International Committee on LGBTQ+ History Months.
So far, the committee includes sixteen locations: Scotland, Wales, USA, UK, Norway, Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, Finland, Cuba, Canada, Berlin, Australia, and the LGBT caucus of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
LGBT History Month Scotland’s call to “blur borders” also aims to bring attention to the experiences of LGBT+ migrants within the UK.
During February, a series of blogs will be published on the LGBT History Month Scotland website which explore these hard-hitting themes.
One contributor, Scottish Refugee Council storytelling officer Chris Afuakwah, wrote: “Borders are hostile places for anybody, and are certainly a hostile place for people in the LGBTQI+ community.
“The strength and resilience which it takes to flee persecution, to make perilous journeys, to put yourself at the mercy of governments and smugglers and lorry drivers, to continually have to hide your identity for your own protection until you are somewhere you can feel safe, only to have it disbelieved in invasive Home Office interviews, is enormous.
“Our government is trying to pass bills to prevent protest, to revoke people’s citizenship without warning, to suppress Voter ID, to make life more and more difficult for people seeking sanctuary.
“At a time when we need to reach across borders in order to survive growing existential threat, to make reparations for the brutality of colonialism and learn from the Global South, the UK is instead choosing to box itself in.
“We must push for a world beyond borders, beyond binaries, beyond efforts to control us, and reconnect with ourselves and our home.”