This Monday marks the start of LGBT+ awareness week. While it can be easy to dismiss Britain as a liberal nation when it comes to LGBT+ tolerance, according to Stonewall statistics, one in five LGBT+ people in Britain have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months. In an era where far-right groups are rising in prominence, and there are near constant debates in the media on transgender people’s right to merely exist, having a space to discuss LGBT+ issues is more important than ever. A lot of transphobia or homophobia stems from ignorance, therefore campaigns like LGBT+ awareness week and LGBT+ history month (February) provide much needed visibility and information.
This week, the LGBT+ society will be releasing a series of short videos – from mini LGBT+ history lessons to guides to using gender neutral language, in order to get the word out about the LGBT+ community and the things that matter to us.
We will also be hosting various events throughout the week which we would encourage you to come to even if you haven’t been involved with the society this year: a bar crawl on Monday, a charity pub quiz on Wednesday, and a screening of A Fantastic Woman on Friday. More information can be found on the LGBT+ society’s Facebook page.
The week culminates on Saturday with NUSU’s first ever LGBT+ conference. Jamie Windust, a non-binary activist, model and editor will be giving a speech, talking about non binary life and how to be a good ally. Ben Hale, a local drag queen and businessman, will discuss being LGBT+ in business, and Charlotte Boulton, our Marginalized Genders Officer, will be talking about LGBT+ rep in the media. Drinking culture and the LGBT+ community will also be discussed by Charlotte White, the founder of Sober Socials, and Oliver Isaac, the former president of the LGBT+ society, will be talking about LGBT+ and education. This is on top of various other panels and discussions, which you can see on the Facebook event. The event is completely free and you can drop in and out of the First Floor of the SU at any time you like if there is a particular talk you are interested in.
Throughout the week we will be raising money for The Albert Kennedy Trust, whose work with people forced out of their homes by their homophobia/transphobic families reminds us how important it is to dispel bigotry through awareness-raising.