By Anna Dutton
To mark 17 years since the abolishment of legislation that disallowed the promotion of homosexuality, Cardiff University Students’ Union is running a number of initiatives to celebrate LGBT+ History Month. The purpose of these events is to celebrate and raise awareness of the issues this community faces.
2020 marks 17 years since the abolishment of the Local Government Act which came into place in 1988 that prevented local authorities from “intentionally promoting homosexuality”. The legislation came under Section 28 of the Act and outlined:
“Prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or publishing material’ going into detail about how ‘a local authority shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.”
To commemorate the anniversary of this legislation being abolished, the SU is celebrating the LGBT+ community by bringing to light various achievements, many of which were, until recently, hidden from history.
The theme of this year’s celebration is to commend the LGBT+ faces of plays, prose, and poetry throughout history. Some famous individuals include Lorraine Hansberry, who was the first black playwright to have a play performed on Broadway, along with William Shakespeare, one of England’s most well-known bards.
Zac, Edge, the Students’ Union’s LGBT+ Officer (Open) and James Wareham, VP Welfare, are working together to promote the events in the SU to highlight the vibrancy of the thriving LGBT+ community here at Cardiff University.
Some of the events include a screening of Pride, as well as a showcase of performances inspired by LGBT+ history from various societies and students. Another key feature of this year’s campaign is focussing on mental health. A Mental Health Panel is being hosted on February 20 which will see four special guests discuss their experiences with mental health; those in attendance will also be encouraged to talk openly about their thoughts and feelings.
Cardiff Student Media will also be taking part in the celebrations with a Special Edition Xpress Radio Takeover taking place on February 19 from 8am-8pm. If you want to find out more about these events, there is an LGBT+ events page on the SU’s website. You can also find details of the support services the University offers for members of the LGBT+ community.
Speaking to Gair Rhydd about the initiative, James Wareham, VP Welfare, stated: “LGBT+ History Month has been celebrated by Cardiff University Students’ Union for a number of years. The campaign promotes the vibrant LGBT+ community at Cardiff University and also encompasses Stand With LGBT+, our annual mental health campaign.
“Students can attend any of the events listed on the website. They can also join the LGBT+ Association, TANGGS and CU Pride societies.”
Wareham went on to celebrate the campaign, saying: LGBT+ History Month is a wonderful celebration of the LGBT+ community in Cardiff and beyond… Our annual mental health Stand With LGTB+ campaign will also be launching at the end of the month, so remember if you want to talk about your wellbeing, you can contact myself, Zach (LGBT+ Officer (Open)) or Student Advice. We’re also excited that Jude, VP Sports and AU President, is working with sports teams competing in Welsh Varsity to support Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign and keep the message about inclusivity going past February.”
After being named among Stonewall’s top 100 for employers for the LGBT+ community in 2020, it is essential that Cardiff University continues to promote inclusion for all staff and students, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. By celebrating the achievements of the LGBT+ community this month, the Students’ Union is creating a great opportunity to continue celebrating the community itself whilst raising awareness of the struggles it continues to face.