LGBT+ HISTORY MONTH: BEHIND THE LENS, 1 – 28th February 2023


Keep an eye on this page for links, blogs & information during LGBT+ History Month.
For further information on how to join our BeYOU employee network, our initiatives and for LGBTQIA+ support, help and advice, please see contact details below.

LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and non-binary history and experience, including the history of LGBT+ rights and the related civil rights movements.
In the United Kingdom, we have celebrated this occasion in February since 2005, to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28 in England and Wales.

This year the theme for LGBT+ History Month is “Behind the Lens”. This theme provides us with an amazing opportunity to recognise and celebrate the lives and professional achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, many of whom work outside of the ‘limelight’ in the areas of photography, filmmaking, TV, music and fashion.

Celebrating LGBT+ History Month provides an opportunity for all people to connect and reflect on the past and present LGBT Community presence and activity, to learn about and engage in LGBTQIA+ culture and the progress made towards equality while exploring what lessons their history can teach us for the future.

LGBT+ HISTORY MONTH:  LGBT+ Charities That You Can Donate To
Week 5

GALOP is the UK’s only specialist LGBT+ anti-violence charity who are dedicated to supporting LGBT+ victims of abuse, hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence when they need it most. GALOP has decades of experience in providing advice, support and advocacy for people experiencing crimes of hate and violence.  GALOP deliver a range of quality support to meet the needs of LGBT+ victims and survivors.
For information on GALOP services and to donate:

Opening Doors
Opening Doors is the only national charity dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ people over 50 with support activities, events and information. The charity also provides accredited training to professional bodies and they participate in research programmes to help inform policy. Open Doors focus on London but they’re work spans across the UK.
Email enquiries:  [email protected]
Telephone: 0207 183 6260
Write to: Opening Doors, Unit 4.1b Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London, N7 6PA

Southall Black Sisters
Southall Black Sisters is a not-for-profit organisation. SBS was established in 1979 with a commitment to support Black women and children experiencing domestic and other forms of gender-related violence. SBS provide a range of services that highlight and challenge all forms of gender-related violence against women and provides support to empower them to defend their human rights to justice, equality and freedom.

The Mosaic Trust
The Mosaic LGBT+ Young Persons’ Trust provides support and services for young persons, parents, guardians, and professionals who seek to gain a deeper understanding of lived experiences of LGBT+ young people.  This charity also provides a range of outreach programmes where young people can safely meet other members and attend youth clubs, outings, retreats and education programmes.  Services offered to young persons are free of charge.  TMT rely on kind donations, grants and funding.
To find out more:
Telephone:  0300 800 5428
Mobile line:  07550 124 393
[email protected]

Mermaids is a registered charity supporting transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families since 1995. Their support services include self-esteem and social skills programmes, awareness training for teachers, GPs and mental health/social health service providers; and programmes aimed at reducing isolation and loneliness for nonbinary, transgender and gender-diverse children, young people and their families.
Mermaids helpline is open 9am-9pm Monday to Friday:  0808 8010400
Email: [email protected]

British Asian LGBTI Organisation
The British Asian LGBTI Organisation provides support for South Asian LGBTI people who identify as part of the LGBTQI+ community.  Their online forums aim to help unite communities, reduce isolation and discrimination, and offer support to South Asian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer people and those questioning and intersex (regardless of faith or culture).

Fighting With Pride
Fighting With Pride is a military charity that was set up to support the health and well-being of LGBT+ veterans, service personnel and their families.
The charity has gained many milestone achievements over the past 20 years and has a focus on individuals who are most impacted by the ban on LGBT+ personnel serving in the Armed Forces prior to the January 2000 Ban. FWP is proud of its lived experience LGBT+ status and its work championing support for organisations to improve capacity, recognise and resolve the challenges faced by LGBT+ service personnel.
Email: [email protected]

The Rainbow Fund (Brighton)
The Brighton Rainbow Fund is known as a central point for fundraising for Brighton and Hove LGBT and HIV community.  Their reputation in ensuring that all the money donated goes to those communities is outstanding.  The Rainbow Fund (Brighton) has no administration costs and is, therefore, able to distribute grants to local projects which are beneficial and make a real difference to the lives of individuals who require support, guidance or advice. Donations are welcomed via the main website.
For more information, please email:  [email protected] 
To make a direct donation:

LGBT+ Inspirational Quotes

“Dear Gay Man, Please stop being so much kinder, funnier and more attractive than straight men. It’s depressing. Sincerely, All single women.”  – Author, Unknown

“Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?” – James Baldwin

“The more I accept myself as a genderless human being, in a way, the more I’m loving my body.” – Sam Smith

“There’s no right or wrong way to be gay. No right or wrong way to come out. It’s your journey, do it the way you wanna do it.” – Tan France

“Openness may not completely disarm prejudice, but it’s a good place to start.” Jason Collins

“When all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”Barack Obama

“I’m not missing a minute of this. It’s the revolution!”Sylvia Rivera

“Gender and sexuality are so fluid. It’s OK to change your mind a million times and figure out what works for you. It’s OK to take your time.”
Amandla Stenberg

“The Lord is my Shepherd and he knows I’m gay.” – Troy Perry

LGBT+ HISTORY MONTH:  International Film Directors
Week 4

LGBT+ Films and Film Directors

Dee Rees began her directorial career with the coming-of-age drama Pariah. A film that was inspired by her own life, Pariah starred Adepero Oduye as a 17-year-old coming to terms with her sexual identity. Her HBO movie Bessie was a biopic about the legendary Blues singer and bisexual icon Bessie Smith. The movie earned an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie. Her success continued with the historical drama Mudbound, a post-World War II saga depicting the lives of two Black and white war veterans as they readjust to American society. Highlighting both racism and PTSD, Mudbound received rave reviews and earned Rees an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Sridhar Rangayan makes films with a focus on LGBTQ themes. His latest film, Purple Skies, documents the history of the Indian LGBTQ movement, and another film, Breaking Free, talks about the Indian LGBT community and its fight for justice.
Breaking Free, which also highlights the impact and implications of Sec 377 — that criminalizes homosexuality — on the LGBT community, won the National Award for Best Editing at the 63rd National Awards announced on March 28th.

Gus Van Sant has constantly experimented with different types of films such as dramas like Good Will Hunting while also experimenting with darker stories like Elephant. He has proven his worth in the biopic genre with Milk and Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot. While My Private Idaho is a fresh and moving retelling of Shakespeare’s Henry IV and Henry V, his remake of Psycho was a flop. Today, the former is considered a landmark work of gay cinema and continues to be one of his best films.

Cheryl Dunye came into the limelight with her magnum opus The Watermelon Woman. The film also stars Dunye as a woman balancing her video store job and her attempts at making a film about a Black actress who was subjected to stereotypical roles in the 1930s. The Watermelon Woman holds the distinction of being the first feature film to be directed by a Black lesbian woman. She is also associated with several short films exploring socio-political themes around race and gender, along with directing episodes for shows like Dear White People and Lovecraft County.

Lana and Lilly Wachowski’s film, The Matrix had stunning CGI and amazing stunts that only Bruce Lee would be capable of. The Matrix will always be remembered for its complicated storyline, black outfits and trailblazing stunts. The film’s two sequels along with their other features like Cloud Atlas and Speed Racer have garnered mixed responses. Still, there are viewers and critics who have garnered a cult following around the latter two. The Wachowski’s have also created and directed episodes for the heavily acclaimed sci-fi drama series Sense8. Both siblings are trans women.

Iram Sana from Pakistan co-directed the first documentary theatre production, The Third Tune (Teesri Dhun), in which six transgender performers shared the life stories, struggles and challenges of the transgender community in Pakistan. Sana is the co-founder of Olomopolo Media, which uses the visual and performing arts to develop educational and social interventions and meaningful discourse, such as LGBTIQA+ solidarity circles.

Tanvir Alim and Shakhawat Hossain from Bangladesh are in charge of running the Boys of Bangladesh (BoB), the oldest platform for self-identified Bangladeshi gay men. BoB is also at the forefront of the nascent LGBT movement that is increasingly demanding the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Bangladesh. It recently launched South Asia’s first lesbian comic character, Dhee, as part of its Project Dhee, which aims to initiate a national dialogue on gender and sexuality in the Muslim-majority country.

Pedro Almodóvar has given us several critical successes most of which star his regular collaborators, Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz. Since the ’80s, he has explored many genres while writing stories on themes of political and sexual freedom. Some of his most famous black comedies include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother. Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory presents a semi-autobiographical narrative through which he interprets his career, internal troubles, and sexuality.

Yance Ford’s filmmaking skills can be seen in the documentary Strong Island. Based on the actual murder of his brother at the hands of a 19-year-old white mechanic, Ford’s film reveals the biases of the justice system towards the marginalized. Despite a clear case of murder, the grand jury still let go of the killer agreeing to his self-defence plea. Strong Island was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 2018 Oscars making Ford the first openly transgender man to be nominated for an Oscar.

Click on the links below to find out more about other inspirational LGBTQIA+ Film Directors:

Week 3

LGBT+ Film and Books


This documentary follows Hollywood’s depiction of Transgender people in mainstream American media and features interviews with a variety of Trans celebrities and activists, from Angelica Ross to Jamie Clayton.
Disclosure  looks at the impact of Trans stories and lived experiences across America and how Trans people are often portrayed in the media.

It takes the audience through a history lesson using films and television shows to show how damaging and inaccurate the depiction and ideas of transgender people were displayed throughout, mostly, American cinema.
– Wikipedia



This bio-mythography is a narrative that combines myth, history, and biography into a tantalising read by American poet Audre Lorde.

Audre Lorde writes that “Zami” is “a Carriacou name for women who work together as friends and lovers“.
Carriacou is the Caribbean island from which Audre’s mother immigrated. Audre begins the story of Zami by writing that “she owes her power and strength to the women in her life, and much of the book is devoted to detailed portraits of other women“.

A must read…



Before Stonewall is a 1984 documentary detailing the time before the Stonewall riots. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1969 riots, the film was restored and re-released in 2019.

Labelled “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, and using extensive archival film, movie clips and personal recollections and interviews, this is a must-watch for anyone interested in learning about LGBT+ history






Prominent LGBT+ People Past and Present


Writer James Baldwin became famous for his charisma and wit. He was intersectional before there was a classification of intersectional. Being openly gay and Black in America gave him an outsider status and afforded him the ability to see the world clearly. He was very open about his sexual orientation and this frank attitude made him approachable and charming to many.





Wanda Sykes is an actress and wickedly funny comedian who proclaims that stand-up comedy is “where I can be free.”

Wanda officially ‘came out’ as a married lesbian woman at a Join the Impact rally in Las Vegas.  Although her status was known for several years in Hollywood and to fans, she had never before publicly shared it.






Actor George Takei is the son of a successful high-end dry cleaning businessman. George Takei is best known for playing the role of Officer Hikaru Sulu on the star-ship enterprise in the Star Trek series, alongside Spok and Capt Kirk. George officially announced that he was gay in 2002 and has since become a popular champion for gay rights. George Takei married his longtime partner, Brad Altman, in 2008.




Indian icons don’t come much bigger than Manvendra Singh Gohil, Prince of Rajpipla, Gujarat and Duke DeAndre Richardson who shared this statement photograph to celebrate their gender identity and being proudly part of the LGBT+ community during the Hong Kong Pride Parade 2018. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil is India’s first openly gay royal.






Dutee Chand became India’s first openly gay athlete when she revealed she was in a same-sex relationship during an interview in 2019.

Dutee is one of the Asian Games silver medallists and an Olympian. Although she was praised for coming out, and the renowned Indian LGBTQ+ rights activist Harish Iyer called her a “beacon of hope,” Dutee’s father called her relationship “immoral and unethical.”  In response, she said, “I had planned to settle down with my partner. But my family got wind of our relationship and my sister threatened that she would tell the world about us and shame us. So I decided to tell everyone myself.”




Bayard Rustin was a close friend and advisor to Martin Luther King Jr and the organiser of the 1963 March on Washington. Rustin was hugely influential within the civil rights movement although he did not receive wide recognition for his essential role. Bayard Rustin worked in the shadows of the movement to prevent bringing controversy to Dr. King and the March on Washington, but he worked hard as a political and gay activist and was committed to bringing the AIDS crisis into the spotlight within the organisation.






The courtier and 2nd Baron John Hervey (1696-1743) was criticised for his effeminate appearance and manner.  Contemporary intellects called him an ‘amphibious thing’ and claimed that people were divided into ‘men, women, and Herveys’.

It was in the 18th century when the way people understood same-sex desire and the people who experienced it would change drastically, and same-sex desire began to be understood as something that was fundamental to the identity of some people.  Hence came the rise of ‘mollies’, a sub-culture of men whose effeminate mannerisms and clothes were related to their same-sex desire.





Alexander the Great was king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.  He was a historically documented bisexual with military genius, who through the years had many partners and mistresses.  Alexander died at the age of 32 in 323 BC. His most controversial relationship was with a young Persian eunuch named Bagoas, who Alexander is said to have kissed publicly at a festival of athletics and arts.


Week 2


A Fiery Soul: The Life and Theatrical Times of John Hirsch
John Hirsch’s story is fundamentally Canadian, and this literary piece remains a fair introduction to the lived experiences of a fascinating and influential gay man.






Billy Porter’s Unprotected is the life story of a survivor.
It tells the tale of a boy whose talent and courage opened doors for him as a teenager discovering himself and how he learned to find his voice and craft.
It is also a story of a young man whose unbreakable resolve guided him through hard times to where he is now. A proud icon who refuses to back down or hide. 




Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette – Book
Multi-award-winning Hannah Gadsby has a knack of transforming the standard take on comedy with her show Nanette while proclaiming she was quitting stand-up.
Now, through her book, she speaks of defining moments in her life that led to the creation of 
Nanette and her powerful decision to tell the truth – no matter the cost.




Zanele Muholi –
 ID Crisis
Zanele Muholi is a South African visual artist and social activist.
Her exhibition ID Crisis displays her artworks to make a visible representation of the lives of black lesbian women in South Africa’s queer community.
She presents an alternative history of the often unspoken people of this community and the voice of future generations.
Photo credit: ID Crisis 2003 Zanele Muholi born 1972 Purchased with funds provided by Wendy Fisher 2015



Molly Ringle’s All the Better Part of Me
The story of a 25-year-old actor who discovers he is bisexual.







Adam Mitchel Lambert is an American singer and songwriter. Since 2009, when he came to the attention of the world as ‘the queer singer, who won American Idol,’ he has sold over 3 million albums and 5 million singles worldwide because of his incredible style, vibrant vocal performances and natural ability to fuse his theatrical training with modern and classic genres.






Ruby Rose is known to many as the ostensible character on Batwoman, in the first superhero series led by a lesbian character (ever). Her LGBT+ representation is pure perfection, as most mainstream superhero narratives tend to remain relentlessly heterosexual or heteronormative. In an interview with the magazine Elle, Rose, who identifies as gender-fluid, said, “only you know who you were born to be, and you need to be free to be that person.”



Julian Gavino is an NYC-based writer, model and activist for the trans-disabled community. Much of his written work speaks out about the many discriminations he has personally experienced online as a disabled person and transgender man. 

Julian was born with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and uses his platform to discuss the need for intersectional equality for both the trans and disabled communities. Julian has also modelled for various fashion brands and has featured on the runways of New York and Los Angeles Fashion Weeks.



For further information, please contact the DEI Team:
Helen Choudhury
Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
MPA Champion for Menopause
Mental Health First Aider
[email protected]

Some Helpful Links & Resources
For LGBTQIA+ support, help and advice, please contact the following organisations:
LGBTQIA+ and religion
Being LGBTQ+ and Religious | LGBT HERO – the national health and wellbeing charity
LGBTQIA+ and Mental Health
MindOut | Mental Health Charity for LGBTQ community
Help for mental health problems if you’re LGBTQ – NHS (
Helpline in the UK
LGBT Foundation – Helpline and Email Support
LGBTQIA+ and young people
LGBTQ young people | Barnardo’s (

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