LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender history, which raises awareness of prejudice against the LGBT+ community while celebrating its achievements and diversity. During the month we’ve been celebrating some amazing people who form part of the LGBT+ community’s past and present.
We caught up with one of Sefton Council’s youth workers Sue Logie. She is the lead worker for New Beginnings, Sefton’s LGBT+ youth group, which provides a safe space for young people to socialise and share experiences. Sue was also winner in the prestigious LCR Pride Awards 2019.
We asked Sue about her experiences as she continues to support young LGBT+ people and why LGBT+ History Month is important to her.
“So, another year passes, and we are bang into February 2021 with no warning, I sit wondering where has the year gone, it cannot be time to run LGBT+ History Month again, however it is here, it’s back and it’s time to educate again as February marks LGBT+ History Month.
I’m a believer in educating, in all areas of life, some of the ethos of youth work is the fact that we are informal educators. We work with young people in an environment that is not a traditional education setting. We provide insight and guidance, fact and figures and sometimes, we just tell it how it is, we are ‘real’. Young people are developing into adults, and while the internet is great, the things they research is not always the correct information – in we step to give advice from Sexual Health to Exploitation.
LGBT History month is an important time for me, so many people are not aware of the LGBT Community who have made so much difference to peoples lives. We all get to learn about Henry 8th, World Wars and now children and young people in years to come will learn about the effect COVID had as this is for sure a historic event. Young people who are questioning their identity or knowing that they are part of the community or even adults need visible LGBT+ people and even LGBT+ Allies, to know that it’s ok, to see that amazing people have achieved and done amazing things, and being LGBT+ or indeed an LGBT+ Ally doesn’t make a difference to their achievements, this also extends across all of the minority groups.
Alan Turing: most people will now know his name, his story has been made into a film with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the lead role of Alan. He was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and theoretical biologist. Turing played a crucial role in cracking intercepted coded messages that enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic, and in so doing helped win the war. Alan was also a gay man in a time when it was illegal, he was arrested and charged, he was given Gay Cure Therapy, he died, an inquest says Alan committed suicide. Despite these accomplishments, he was never fully recognised in his home country during his lifetime due to the prevalence of homophobia at the time and because much of his work was covered by the Official Secrets Act.
So now I ask was Alan Turing and his work pivotal and should I have learnt about him in school – absolutely YES! Does the fact he was gay have an impact? In my opinion Absolutely YES. Just because of who he wanted to fall in love with does not change that fact he was amazing at what he did, Alan being gay didn’t impact on the fact he helped us win the war! In 2009, following an Internet campaign, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown made an official public apology on behalf of the British government for “the appalling way he was treated”. Queen Elizabeth II granted Turing a posthumous pardon in 2013. The “Alan Turing law” is now an informal term for a 2017 law in the United Kingdom that retroactively pardoned men cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts
Alan Turing is just one of many LGBT+ People who have shaped history and have been persecuted, Martha P Johnson a prominent figure in the Stonewall riots, Mark Ashton who co-founded LGSM supporting mining communities during the strikes, without them, their activism and for some of them the suffering the took, would LGBT+ people have the rights they do now and let’s remember that is not world wide – probably not. The fight is not over, and we are also lucky that we have so many LGBT+ Allies who fight for the community something we must not forget either, so it’s important to also celebrate our allies people like Maya Angelou.
LGBT+ people have been around for 1000s of years, it’s not a new thing, it is also very much not a choice. Therefore, our LGBT history is just as important be celebrated and learnt like every other bit of history.
And just like Coronavirus will be a piece of History, LGBT+ people will continue to be part of history while we are still fighting for rights and amazing people create, do or become standout representatives while being proud of who they are.
Working alongside ‘The Proud Trust’ and other organisations like ‘LGBT History Month’, who together put amazing resources out for us to use to educate, I’m proud that I do this, we as youth team do this and as a Local Authority we do this, to do our bit to educate not just young people in Sefton, but the people of Sefton and beyond, even with the negative comments we receive.