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February 27, 2022

Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month

If you weren’t already aware, February is LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK. The first event came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 in 2003, which was a law passed in 1988 by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government, prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality by local authorities”, i.e, schools, councils, social care etc. The law was finally repealed by the year 2000 in Scotland and 2003 in England.

LGBTQ+ History Month is held in order to raise awareness of and combat prejudice towards the queer community, whilst also celebrating our achievements and diversity, making ourselves more visible. So in honour of this month, I wanted to take a moment to shine a light on some queer historical figures you might not have heard of.

A black and white photograph of a man wearing a shirt, tie and a necklace.

James Baldwin

Baldwin, born 1924, was a gay black American author who escaped from racist and homophobic America to France in 1948, where he wrote essays about race, sexuality and class structures. He brought to light the challenges black and queer people had to face during that time.

A side on black and white photograph of a woman pointing her hand upwards


Born 1873, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, better known as simply Colette, was a French author and openly bisexual woman who had relationships with many prominent queer women including Napoleon’s niece, Mathilde ‘Missy’ de Morny. In 1907, the police were called to the Moulin Rouge when Colette and Missy shared a kiss onstage.

A black and white photograph of a woman wearing a tuxedo and bow tie

Stormé DeLarverie

Often dubbed the ‘Rosa Parks of the queer community’, DeLarverie (born 1920) is widely regarded as the woman who started the fight back against police during the Stonewall raid in 1969. She fought at least four police officers whilst being roughly dragged from the premises in too-tight handcuffs and thrown into the van, at which point the crowd became a mob and went ‘berserk’. This moment helped define a change in LGBTQ+ activism.

Michael Dillon

Dillon, born 1915, was the first man to undergo phalloplasty, or the surgical creation of a penis. He became a doctor and then served as a naval surgeon for some time, before the press discovered that he was not born male. The attention made him flee to India, where he took vows to become a Buddhist monk.

The Queer Climbing Club runs weekly social nights at Freeklime on Monday nights, from 8pm til 10pm.

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