A promotional event for the pre-launch of LGBT History Month was held at the University of Birmingham on the 28th November, which saw an evening of performances in Bramall Building and a colourful bus featuring the LGBT flag around campus.

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Images by Sam Tunnicliffe

A promotional event for the pre-launch of LGBT History Month was held at the University of Birmingham on the 28th November,  which saw an evening of performances in Bramall Building and a colourful bus featuring the LGBT flag around campus.

LGBT History Month is held every February to celebrate the repealing of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 in 2003, a law which prevented local authorities from the promotion of homosexuality. Since 2010, there has been a single Equality Act that means that a crime that has a  homophobic motive is now a hate crime.

In 2014, the annual LGBT History Month will focus on music and the University of Birmingham was chosen to host the event

In 2014, the annual LGBT History Month will focus on music and the University of Birmingham was chosen to host the event. The musical part of the evening involved musicians iincluding the Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra, Rainbow Voice (an LGBT choir) and DRAG, a lesbian fronted punk band. The ‘Say It Loud’ extravaganza was hosted by comedian Barbara Nice, who encouraged the audience to sing together at times. Independent on Sunday Pink List winners Elly Barnes, Sue Sanders and Tony Fenwick all spoke on the Bramwell music stage about the history of the event and planning that goes into it.

‘It was a night for pride in LGBT identity’ commented Leilani Rabemananjara, the university’s Non-Sabbatical LGBTQ officer. ‘It is a nudge in the direction of visible diversity on the campus’.

There was also a drinks reception held afterwards with VIP guests including an MEP, Birmingham councillors, members of NUT, Stephen Hughes (Chief executive of Birmingham City Council) and David Viney of the Birmingham LGBT centre.

The campaign sought to raise awareness of and fight against discrimination which targets the LGBTQ community

Preceding this event were workshops with primary and secondary school students at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and Tiverton Primary school. The workshops focused on educating children about LGBT musicians such as Benjamin Britten, Angela Morley and Ethel Smyth. Over 20 teachers, 110 performers, 150 students and 20 professionals took part in the workshops.

At the event, Professor Martin Stringer, Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor, accepted an ornamental plate which commemorated the University of Birmingham for hosting event.

The pre-launch coincided with the ‘Born Free & Equal’ campaign, which was organised by the UN society at the University of Birmingham, an affiliated youth branch of the United Nations Association of the UK. The campaign sought to raise awareness of and fight against discrimination which targets the LGBTQ community. The events organised on campus were part of the wider ‘Born Free & Equal’ by the UN, which sought to raise awareness and answer questions about discrimination.

A stall presentation was organised by the society and held outside the Guild of Students, where society members handed out information, including a map showing the various sentencing provisions in different countries, and answered questions.This was followed by an afternoon workshop with presentations of different topics, quizzes and case studies.

The society’s campaigning was meant to raise awareness about a number of facts that many students may be unaware of. They explained that there are currently 76 countries with discriminatory rules criminalizing consensual, same-sex relationships. The society commented that the response to the campaign has been positive, with the workshop acting as an ultimate success, educating students against discrimination.

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