Campaigners to celebrate LGBT history

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With the third Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) History Month three months away, the Trades Union Congress is hosting a pre-launch event next week to encourage schools, unions and individuals to organise their own events to mark the event next February.

Speakers at the launch of LGBT History Month – which takes place at Congress House on Monday include TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber, novelist Stella Duffy, American stand-up comedian and jazz singer Lea Delaria, veteran gay campaigner, Allan Horsfall, and trans campaigner Professor Stephen Whittle.

The LGBT History Month event has been organised to inspire people to organise their own events and meet with others who might work with them to make their February 2007 event more memorable.

Also at the LGBT History Month pre-launch event, the TUC’s lesbian and gay policy officer Peter Purton will launch ‘Sodom, Gomorrah and the new Jerusalem’. The book traces the history of the Labour Movement and its relationship with LGBT equality from the time of Edward Carpenter, the pioneer socialist thinker and campaigner who lived openly with his male partner in Victorian and Edwardian times, to the present day.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said attitudes towards homosexuality still need to be changed, “Lesbians, gay men and trans people may now have the law on their side but there is still much to do to change social attitudes. Homophobia is still a long way from being banished in the UK, and events like LGBT History Month are intended to show that there is much we can learn from the bravery of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and trans people who refused to be silenced in days gone by.”

Sue Sanders from LGBT History Month said: “Celebrating who we are is crucial in a country where all too often being gay, if it is recognised at all, is seen as being white, young, able-bodied and male. Most people still know little about LGBT history, and despite the progress made the needs of trans people are frequently ignored within our culture.”