Pride in Aston Lark, our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender network, is celebrating LGBT+ History Month, which takes place in February. To mark this event, which promotes equality and diversity through increasing the visibility of LGBT+ people from history. We’ve taken a look at a few key LGBT+ figures Pride in Aston Lark has chosen to celebrate:
Tom Daley’s story in many ways mirrors those of many young people of the millennial generation.
They spend their formative years in “straight” relationships, thinking that it’s “normal” to be attracted to someone of the same sex without feeling a true connection, but only realising their true sexual identity when they get closer to someone of the same sex.
Teen diving sensation Tom first made waves throughout the LGBT community in late 2013 when he came out via a YouTube video. Undoubtedly Tom’s coming out was a watershed moment. Thousands of young, confused gay men and women will have recognised Tom’s journey and now have someone to relate to. Furthermore, with Tom still being very much in the midst of his diving career, his coming out will demonstrate to other sportsmen and women that you can be LGBT+ and a top performer, smashing the glass ceiling for many more to follow.
"Even those holding the most powerful offices in the world shouldn’t have to hide who they are."
Xavier Bettel is the current Prime Minister of Luxembourg and one of only three openly gay world leaders in office. He was also the first openly gay Prime Minister in the world to be elected for a second term.
As leader of the Democratic Party, he was able to help bring in reforms, paving the way for same-sex marriages in 2015, the same year he married his partner. A massive achievement in what is a historically Catholic nation. Before his wedding, he was reported as saying:
"I could have hidden it or repressed it and been unhappy my whole life, but I told myself that if you want to be a politician and be honest in politics, you have to be honest with yourself and accept that you are who you are."
Xavier shows us, that even those holding the most powerful offices in the world, shouldn’t have to hide who they are.
You probably haven’t heard of her but Julie d’Aubigny was was a most unusual example of what it meant to be a queer woman three hundred years ago.
Born in France in 1683, she married by the age of 15 but soon became involved with a fencing master and started giving fencing exhibitions and singing at local taverns, with Julie often performing in men’s clothing. Later, she fell in love with a woman but when the woman’s parents found out, they shipped her off to a convent. Naturally, Julie joined the convent too, and when an elderly nun died one night, the pair stole the body, set fire to the convent and escaped. Julie was sentenced to death for the crime but was eventually pardoned and went onto become a major opera star. She continued to cross-dress, duel with whoever was bold enough to challenge her, and fall in and out of love with both men and women.
While not all of her behaviour was exemplary, she certainly lived boldly and bravely.
And for more information on LGBT+ History Month, please click here.