Celebrating LGBT+ History Month

To mark this year's LGBT+ History Month, Kingston University's staff and students have come together to honour this year's theme, Politics in Art: The Arc is Long. An ode to a Martin Luther King quote exploring art, media, and politics, the theme will be explored through many avenues throughout the month, from individual pieces to big ticket events that aren't to be missed.

The University's LGBTQ+ Staff Network and students directly support those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and/or asexual. We recognise the importance of promoting a more inclusive environment through increasing visibility of the LGBT+ community and advancing education so that LGBT+ people can reach their full potential.

Look out for a programme of events being held by the University and the Union of Kingston Students throughout February.

LGBT+ History Month is a reminder that we would not be able to do what we do now if it wasn't because of those who paved the way before us. This month is to spotlight and celebrate our journeys, lives, and to remember those who have been lost.

We can use this time to open the doors for discussion, learning, and kindness like we would all year round. Campaigning and the tireless work of queer activists does not stop until we achieve our goals! "

Shane Simpkin - LGBT+ Student Officer

Shane Simpkin (they/them), LGBT+ officer, Union of Kingston Students

LGBT+ History Month is a time to celebrate the University's LGBTQ+ community and its allies. It is also a time to recognise and reflect on the global LGBTQ+ community and its culture, past and present. February 2022 is an exciting time for us as it marks the second anniversary of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network and the University's commitment to becoming a Stonewall Diversity Champion.

This year's theme is Politics in Art: The Arc Is Long, which seems timely as we approach the twentieth anniversary of the repeal of Section 28. In celebration and reflection of the theme we are inviting our LGBTQ+ community and allies to share an artwork that reflects and celebrates the community's past, present and future."

Stephen Mason (he/him) co-chair, LGBTQ+ staff network

Stephen Mason (he/him), co-chair, LGBTQ+ Staff Network

Dean of Kingston School of Art explores this year's theme: 'Politics in Art: The Arc is Long'

Mandy Ure, Dean of Kingston School of Art and Chair of the University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee shares her chosen artwork in celebration of this year's LGBT+ History Month.

LGBT+ History Month highlights and celebrates the LGBT+ community and in 2022 the theme is ‘Politics in Art: The Arc is Long'. There is an opportunity to reflect on the contribution of artists pointing at issues, raising awareness, questioning stereotypes and offering different ways to examine the world and society. The list of writers, performers, directors and practitioners who have, through their artworks, gently invoked or forcefully implored an audience to consider LGBTQ+ experiences, is long.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres' work "Untitled" (Perfect Lovers), 1991, is a presentation of two battery-powered clocks on a light blue wall. When one of the clocks stops or breaks the instructions are that both must be reset to resume synchronicity.

I discovered Gonzalez-Torres in the early 1990s. I was in Edinburgh during a period of exceptional trauma, living and working amongst friends who were subject to the impact of HIV and AIDs before there was any treatment. There is a biographical connection through artists that were discussed, work people were making and the political environment that people were living through. I'm drawn to this work specifically through my own interest in doubles and the notion of the doppelganger. It may have elements of momento mori, but it is also about a human attempt to replicate processes, objects, situations, people in order to still or extend time. It may be an attempt to capture something intangible that is both hopeless and yet is filled with an affirmation of companionship and desire.

Dean of Kingston School of Art explores this year's theme: 'Politics in Art: The Arc is Long'

LGBT+ events

LGBT+ History Month Talks: Becoming an Angelic Troublemaker … in conversation with Bisi Alimi

Bisi Alimi

  • Wednesday 9 February 2022 4-6pm
  • Audience: Staff and students. To book, please visit StaffSpace and KUExtra.

Launching LGBT+ History Month 2022, the Staff LGBT+ and BAME networks will co-host a conversation with Bisi Alimi. Bisi will discuss his journey to becoming an Angelic Troublemaker and his expertise in advocacy for social justice issues, from sexual orientation and gender identity to race and race relations, feminism, education and poverty alleviation. There will be opportunities for the audience to join in the conversation and ask Bisi questions.

https://bisialimi.com/

LGBT+ History Month Talks: Creating a culture of visibility for the LGBT+ staff and student community. In conversation with Daniel Tomlinson-Gray, co-founder of LGBTEd

Daniel Tomlinson-Gray

  • Wednesday 23 February 2022 2-4pm
  • Penrhyn Road (TBC) and Online
  • Audience: Staff. To book, please visit StaffSpace.

Co-hosted by the Staff LGBT+ Network and LTEC, Daniel Tomlinson-Gray will discuss his book Big Gay Adventures in Education: Supporting LGBT+ Visibility and Inclusion in School and share successful examples of increasing visibility and embedding the LGBT+ community in curriculum. The session will discuss what universities can learn from schools and include a Q&A for audience members to participate in the session.

LGBTEd can be found on Twitter @LGBTedUK

LGBT+ History Month, Union of Kingston Students: A night with A Man To Pet: Drag show and competition

LGBT+ History month

  • Thursday 10 February 2022 6-8pm
  • Audience: Staff and students. To book, please visit UKS
  • Location: Not My Beautiful House, Fife Road, KT1 1SB

Grab your best wig and brush off your lipsyncing skills.
With performances and judging by the iconic A Man To Pet, we'll provide the glitter, make-up, wigs and clothes. You'll bring your fiercest walks to compete for best drag queen.

LGBT+, Union of Kingston Students: Do you love me, God? A conversation about religion, spirituality and being LGBT+

LGBT+ History month

  • Tuesday 15 February 2022 6-7pm
  • Audience: Staff and students. To book, please visit UKS
  • Location: Zoom

Hosted by Yannis, deputy chair LGBT+ campaigns, a panel and Q&A session with people from the community on acceptance, spirituality and religion.

LGBT+ History Month, Union of Kingston Students: Rainbow laces campaign

Rainbow Laces

  • Wednesday 23 February 2022

Our yearly campaign in conjunction with Stonewall, aiming to raise awareness around homophobia, transphobia and inclusivity in sport. Students can grab their own pair of rainbow laces from our Union office!

LGBT+ History Month, Union of Kingston Students: LGBT+ short film screening

LGBT+ History month

  • Tuesday 22 February 2022 5-7pm
  • Audience: Staff and students. To book, please visit UKS

Acclaimed filmmakers from around the world present eight ground-breaking diverse short films celebrating queer cinema.

Meet our staff and students

As a Kingston University alumna who came out during my degree, I feel that the University culture gave me the space and confidence to be open about who I am. As our community celebrates the achievements and honours the sacrifices of those who came before us, I feel we must also look to the future and keep up the momentum on the work there is yet to do."

Abi Baldwin, Alumna

Abi Baldwin, alumna

My advice to anyone who feels like they don't fit within the normal LGBT+ spaces is that there are spaces for you and people who look like you and are experiencing the same thing as you. Find those spaces, those spaces that make you feel at home and allow you to feel validated, affirmed, loved, and inspired."

Tamara Reid, Inclusive Curriculum Consultants programme lead

Tamara Reid, Inclusive Curriculum Consultants programme lead

It is inspiring to see the energy and passion radiating from our learners when they see their lives, backgrounds and identities reflected in their curricula and education settings. LGBT+ History Month is one important way to support our mission to diversify University curricula, challenging hetero-normative assumptions and recognising and celebrating the contribution of LGBT+ communities across the world. In so doing, we are enhancing the learning for us all and equipping ourselves to live and work competently and responsively in our diverse societies."

Annie Hughes, Head of Teaching and Learning Enhancement

Annie Hughes, Head of Teaching and Learning Enhancement

LGBTQAI+ is not just another history month. It is a moment of reflection and exhilaration. We reflect on things we have achieved, and some of us have taken them for granted.

From MJ Rodriguez, to Russel T Davies and Aaron Rose Philip, we are changing the landscape, and we demand tolerance. However, there is much more to achieve. Let's remind ourselves that 2021 was the deadliest year of violence for transgender people in the world.

With History Month we say that we don't want equality, we demand tolerance and a fair share within society. We are different, unique and proud. We are breaking the norms, rising and demanding representation."

Yannis Vlassis, LGBT+ Deputy Chair of Campaign Committee, Union of Kingston Students

Yannis Vlassis, LGBT+ Deputy Chair of Campaign Committee, Union of Kingston Students

Flying the LGBT+ flags

The rainbow flag is the most synonymous symbol used to represent the LGBT+ community. However, the flag and its associations have evolved. Kingston University has embraced the Pride flag this year by displaying banners around the campuses and creating a choice of LGBT+ inspired Teams backgrounds.

Below, co-chair of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network, Simon Collins, gives a brief explanation of the Pride flags. The list isn't exhaustive but illustrates a range of the flags developed over time that, through the colours and symbols used, represent the LGBT+ growing community.

The following video also gives a short history of the rainbow flag.

Rainbow Pride Flag

Traditional Rainbow Pride Flag

This is the traditional and well recognised flag used to represent the LGBTQ+ community. Politician Harvey Milk urged  Gilbert Baker the artist, vexillographer and gay rights activist in 1978 to design a flag and it first appeared at the Pride Parade in San Francisco.

Originally there were eight colours, indicating hot pink for sex, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, turquoise for magic and art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit. However, the hot pink was too difficult to print, and the turquoise was dropped to allow for six colours and the indigo changed to a more standard blue. The rainbow is found in Chinese, Egyptian and Native American History and in Christian teachings as a sign of hope.

Philadelphia's People of Colour Inclusive Flag or the More Colour, More Pride Flag

People of Colour Inclusive Flag

To better represent LGBTQ+ people of colour and their experiences, Philadelphia-based campaign group More Colour More Pride debuted a brand new eight-stripe flag in 2017 to coincide with Pride Month.

Progress Pride Flag

Progress Pride Flag

In 2018, Daniel Quasar then designed what is known as the ‘Progress' Pride Flag, which uses the six traditional stripes of the pride flag and includes at the hoist the colours of the transgender pride flag - light blue, pink and white - and black and brown stripes in the form of triangles to represent marginalised LGBTQ+ communities of colour.

Progress Pride Flag redesigned

Progress Pride Flag redesigned

In 2021, a yellow triangle with a purple circle in it has been added, to represent intersex people, community and rights. The new Pride flag was designed by Valentino Vecchietti, of Intersex Equality Rights UK. The Intersex Pride flag is a purple circle on a yellow backdrop. Designed by advocacy group Intersex Human Rights Australia in 2013, it intentionally stays away from traditionally gendered colours of blue and pink to celebrate the intersex community.

Listen to the Queer Talk Podcast

Kingston University's Dr David Nilsson discusses the history of the word 'Queer'.

The episode explores how reclaiming a word requires respect, understanding and tolerance.

Listen to the Queer Talk Podcast

LGBT+ resources

LGBT+ collection

To celebrate our diversity, inclusivity and inclusion the STTB staff network have purchased a range of books and e-books, available in the Libraries.

These are on a range of topics related to LGBTQ+ Do take a browse of the list of resources. They may help inform your work, teaching, practice or understanding, or challenge your perceptions or preconceptions. Happy browsing and reading.