Reflecting on the impact LGBT+ History Month
Hayley Parker, Equalities Manager, reflects on the impact of LGBT+ History Month. "When I was growing up, I didn’t really hear or understand the word gay or lesbian, and I definitely never knew what bisexual or trans meant!"
"I think I became aware of certain words and unfortunately at the time, the negative connotations, when I saw those horrible HIV/AIDS adverts with the terrifying gravestone. Reflecting now, I only started to understand things through some enlightened television, which also helped me to understand my own thoughts and feelings. Programmes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where there was a lesbian character – but this was almost incidental rather than a huge coming out storyline. I was probably about 17ish when I saw this, and just seeing a character who I related to made all the difference to how I was feeling about myself.
It has been through LGBT+ History Month events in my early professional career, where I learned about Section 28 and the clear impact that this had had on me. Section 28 was a law passed in 1988 that ‘prohibited the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities’. This meant that schools couldn’t give children information about different families and different relationships, for instance. Personally I felt like I just never heard anything about gay or trans people, unless it was negative and on the playground. Section 28 almost gave a licence to people to treat people differently, if they were perceived to be LGBT.
Understanding about things like Section 28, and therefore understanding my own history, has helped me to understand myself better and to always try and consider how history has affected others".