THE start of this year’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History (LGBTQ+) Month in Cambridge has been marked with the traditional raising of the rainbow flag at the Guildhall.
This year the programme of events for LGBTQ+ History Month in Cambridge, which is supported by Cambridge City Council, is going online due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The varied programme features talks, performances, music, social activities, films, exhibitions, workshops and more during the whole of February, organised by a number of local organisations in partnership with the Encompass Network.
The Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Russ McPherson, helped launch this year’s virtual event, with an online speech which can be seen here: https://youtu.be/PAtVN0M2bV0
Among the events to look out for during the month are:
LGBTQ+ Creative Writing Competition – Submit writing on the subject of ‘Body, Mind, Spirit’ by 15 Feb and people can win prizes at an online ceremony on 26 February
A History of UK’s LGBTQ+ Rights with Morgan Page a writer, performance and video artist, and activist. February 3, 12 noon-1pm
Poetry LGBT Open Mic on Zoom - Poetry and spoken word from new and established poets, writers and creatives. February 7, 5pm-7pm
Queers in Shorts: History Month stream - Live streaming a selection of queer themed films from around the world. February 11, 8pm-10pm and February 25 from 8pm
Section 28 and its Legacy - Bethan Rees and David Lynch share experiences of working as LGBTQ+ teachers under Section 28. February 18, 1pm-2pm
LGBTQ+ Teen Reading and Discussion Group Taster Session - A taster session for a new LGBTQ+ reading and discussion group hosted by Cambridgeshire Libraries for 16-18 year olds. February 20, 4pm-5pm
Bring Your Own Queer Reading - Bring a passage from your favourite LGBTQ+ novel, poetry, short story, fanfiction or screenplay to read, and discuss what makes this writing special. February 25, 6pm-7pm
To see the complete programme of events visit http://encompassnetwork.org.uk/category/history-month-2021/
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities, said: “It’s a shame we won’t be able to meet up in person this year, but people can still join in with a fantastic programme of events, many of them live, online through the Encompass Network’s website.
“History Month is always a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the role that the LGBTQ+ community plays in our city. Events like this are a reminder that Cambridge is a diverse, welcoming place for all our communities, and I hope everyone will take the opportunity to join in.”
The council’s support for LGBTQ+ History Month forms part of its wider work to strengthen equality and diversity in Cambridge.
The council encourages partners and individuals to show their commitment to challenging discrimination and promoting equality of opportunity by signing the Equality Pledge – which the council is a co-founder and signatory of.
The Equality Pledge reads: “We believe in the dignity of all people and their right to respect and equality of opportunity. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community. Our aspiration is for Cambridge and the wider region to be safe, welcoming and inclusive.”
In addition, the council is signed up to Safer Spaces, which is an initiative run by The Encompass Network for organisations and businesses to ensure LGBTQ+ people feel welcome and supported. If people visit a place which displays the Safer Spaces sticker, it indicates that people of all genders and sexualities can feel relaxed and protected in that place.
All businesses and organisations in Cambridge are invited to join the scheme and can find out more at https://encompassnetwork.org.uk/saferspaces