10 February 2020
Here at Coleg Gwent we are proud to mark and celebrate LGBTQ+ history month 2020. We pride ourselves on our forward thinking and progressive community where our learners and staff are able to embrace themselves and be who they are without fear.
LGBTQ+ History Month began in 2005 as a stand – alone event, facilitated by Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, both prominent LGBTQ rights activists, as the Schools OUT UK project. This event was staged as a result of the repeal of Section 28 in 2003. Section 28 was part of the Local Government Act 1988, and banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities and all UK schools, which meant in practice that teachers were prohibited from discussing even the possibility of same-sex relationships with students. It was the cause of a huge rise in unchallenged homophobia and bullying that forced many LGBTQ+ children and young people to hide who they were out of fear. Councils were also forbidden from stocking libraries with literature or films that contained gay or lesbian themes, so as a result, the education, mental health and general wellbeing of a generation of young people was greatly affected, and even today, some are still living with the effects of what happened to them during that time.
Fast forward to 2020, and LGBTQ+ History Month takes place every February in the UK (October in the US and Canada) to celebrate the community and encourage further education into LGBTQ+ issues. It is also here to acknowledge the history of the gay rights movement, and promote a safer and more inclusive society where the entire spectrum of sexuality and gender is accepted and spoken about openly without fear.
At Coleg Gwent, we have a wonderful diverse LGBTQ+ community. One of our learners, Amy, identifies herself as a Bi Trans woman:
“My experiences at college have been great. I transitioned during my first year here and all the staff I’ve encountered have been great at using my pronouns and name, even when I first transitioned. All the staff have been understanding and accepting and have helped to make the college a welcoming environment. I have started my own support group as part of my role as Student Union LGBTQ+ rep, additionally, Inspire have been great at supporting me and other LGBTQ+ students. The college is a great place to study as it is a friendly, relaxed and accepting environment that allows students be themselves and complete their work without fear of being harassed.”
Coleg Gwent has and will always promote diversity and is committed to standing with and supporting our own LGBTQ+ community, both learners and staff.