Campus celebrates LGBTQ* history month

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Lancaster University’s LGBTQ society, YOURlgbtq*, is running a series of events to celebrate this year’s LGBT History Month, which runs throughout February.

The month celebrates the lives and achievements of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, with an emphasis this year on iconic figures and their achievements in maths, science and engineering.

The events that YOURlgbtq* is planning to host during the month include the campaign ‘Rainbow Ribbons’, during which members of the Society will sell ribbons to people on campus. The ribbons will allow students and other members of the public to show their support for the LGBT community, and will be sold in various public areas, including in front of the SCAN offices. Proceeds from the ribbons will go to the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity that provides assistance to young LGBT people made homeless or living in a hostile environment.

Other events run by the Society include an exhibit in Alexandra Square on famous LGBT people from history, such as British mathematician Alan Turing. Though highly important in the development of computer science and the breaking of German ciphers during the Second World War, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952. He subsequently committed suicide in 1954.

It is also hoped that the rainbow flag, a traditional sign of gay pride, will be flown above Lancaster University to commemorate the month, with more events planned in the coming weeks.

Alongside YOURlgbtq*’s events, Lancaster’s Students’ Union (LUSU) Vice President for Equality, Welfare and Diversity, Rosalia O’Reilly, is coordinating a ‘straight supporter’ campaign.

O’Reilly stated:

‘Often – particularly in the case of college JCR officers who have to sit on the LGBTQ* Committee as part of their role – straight supporters can feel as though they don’t have a place or a platform to campaign for equal rights.

We’re hoping to run a ‘Straight Not Narrow’ campaign allowing straight supporters to pledge their support of Equal Marriage.’

The events come in the wake of a motion by O’Reilly to LUSU Council. The motion asked for LUSU to declare official support towards – among other issues – same-sex marriage; to lobby the Government to support equal marriage legislation; and to campaign on campus with YOURlgbtq* for equal marriage. The motion is now part of official LUSU-policy.

When asked about the motion, O’Reilly said: ‘Equal marriage is about an individual’s right to marry the person they love. Now that we as a Union have a policy on this, I am able to campaign for equal marriage openly, and run equal marriage campaigns.

I hope to work with the LGBTQ* Association to portray the progressions of LGBT liberation over the years resulting in a look forward to the future of liberation.’

Matt Jones, Chair of YOURlgbtq*, explained that LGBT History Month is a signature campaign each year for the society, and urged people interested in the events to keep an eye on social networks for more information.

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