Celebrating LGBT+ History Month

04 February 2022
Claire Tuton

A number of events and celebrations are taking place for the students and community at Leeds Arts University this month. These events encourage the wider community to get together to celebrate LGBT+ History Month.

We spoke to Leeds Arts Union Student President, Claire Tuton about her experiences and what she is most proud of for a short blog to get things started.

I am super excited to share this blog with you around LGBT+ History Month! As some of you may know, I am a proud member of the LGBT+ community and a big part of my campaign for the presidency was based around this and the things I wanted to do to create a more inclusive environment for our LAU LGBT+ family.

Claire Tutton filmmakingImage: A picture of my time as a student learning filmmaking techniques.

I grew up in very rural countryside where there wasn’t really much of an LGBT+ community. Coming to study here at LAU was the first time in my life I felt that I was surrounded by LGBT+ people and a sense of community. Even moving to Leeds in general was great for me, as the city has a big LGBT+ scene, with plenty of nightlife.

At the start of my second year, I explored the theme of LGBT+ in my work, collating short interviews with different students who identified as various sexualities and created a short film exploring the struggles of gay relationships.

Image: A still from my interview 'I Am'.

This month is really important to me because when I was at school, we received no education on LGBT+ history. For example, even though we spent months learning about World War 2; Alan Turing, the gay mathematician thought to have shortened the length of the war by several years by cracking the enigma code, was never even mentioned. In fact, there’s a lot of LGBT+ history that I have only learnt about recently, due to my own research about this month. It’s made me realise how poor my education (and probably a lot of other people’s) was on this!

I read something the other day that I feel sums up why LGBT+ History Month is really important:

“Discrimination is still very much prevalent in society, so awareness groups and political movements continue to be a voice for those who struggle. You don’t have to be part of an LGBT movement to fight oppression though. Your awareness of what LGBT+ people have gone through and continue to experience and being supportive of LGBT+ rights is one of the most effective ways to help make LGBT oppression history.”

We have some really exciting things going on this month to celebrate our LGBT+ folks; including co-hosting the 'Lavender' Exhibition with the LAU Spectrum Society from Wednesday 23 to Sunday 27 February at the Corn Exchange. We will also be giving out free progress lanyards and pronoun badges in the union space and the Spectrum Society will be running various events throughout the month.

I hope you have an insightful LGBT+ History Month and can make it to our events.