Schools Out’s LGBT History Month, which will take place in February 2014, was launched this week with performances by school choirs.
Students from Turves Green Girls School and Vix from Fuzzbox performed the song Say It Loud on the Bramall Concert Hall stage at Birmingham University, which launched LGBT History Month. The 2014 theme was Music.
Comedian Barbara Nice compared the evening, which featured performances from the Rainbow Voices choir, the Birmingham Gay Symphony Orchestra, and other solo performances by students.
Ethel Smyth was a lesbian suffragette and one of the LGBT historical figures studied on the day who inspired the students to make placards demanding ‘votes for women’ and march onto the stage while the audience clapped along before singing ‘March of the Women’, the suffragette anthem.
New music was also showcased from DRAG, a lesbian fronted punk band, who played two songs, including their current single ‘Dandy Boy.’
Speaking at the event alongside Michael Cashman MEP, Sue Sanders, was one of the Co- Chairs of Schools OUT LGBT History Month said: “It is just over 10 years since the repeal of Section 28 and we fought against that legislation to ensure that schools and everyone can get involved in events like this one to educate out prejudice.”
Tony Fenwick, also Co-Chair, spoke of his personal journey from being ‘born illegal’ in the 1960s to almost being at the point where he can marry his partner in 2014.
Stephen Hughes, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council said: “The Educate and Celebrate programme led by Elly Barnes has been just what we needed in Birmingham to transform our schools and ensure they feel confident to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying. With 40 schools, including 12 primary schools having participated, we are starting to see real results. This is why it makes absolute sense and I am delighted to be holding the annual LGBT History Month launch event in Birmingham.”
Elly Barnes, LGBT Schools Advisor for Birmingham City Council and founder of Educate and Celebrate said: ‘It has been an amazing day for our students, their faces told the story. Have never seen such jubilation whilst dancing! I am especially delighted with the primary involvement as they have risen to the challenge of teaching about diversity and different families. LGBT history month has been launched in style through the power of our chosen subject, MUSIC!”
Schools Out initiated LGBT History Month, which occurs in February of each year, in order to reclaim and promote the position of LGBT people in the education curriculum and in wider society. The aim of Schools Out is to make schools safe and raise the visibility of LGBT people.