For hundreds of years throughout history, gay people have struggled to be accepted and treated equally by "normal" society. In fact, it wasn't until 1967, that two men were able to be together without being shamed or arrested.
LGBT+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. The + is an inclusive symbol to include people of all identities.
LGBT+ history month takes place in February annually, to help educate people on the history of the gay and civil rights movement.
Let's take a quick at some of the LGBT+ icons that have helped change history...
Alan Turing wasn't well known during his lifetime, but today he is famous and honoured for the vital part he played in the victory of WW2 over Nazi Germany. Turing was a mathematician who solved something called the Enigma code, which is thought to have shorted the war considerably. He was a victim of society at the time and was arrested for being a homosexual in 1952 because it was illegal in the UK at the time. In 2013 he was pardoned of his "crime" and in 2017 the government officially decreed to pardon men accused of their "crimes", meaning they will no longer have a criminal record.
Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender-rights activist, whose work in the 1960s and 1970s had huge impacts on the LGBT+ community. At this time being gay was classed as a mental illness in the United States. In June 1969, when Marsha was 23, police raided a gay bar in New York, they forced over 200 people out of the bar onto the street and then used excessive violence against them. Marsha was one of the key figures who stood up to the police during the raids, Marsha led protests and riots demanding rights for gay people. News of the protests spread, inspiring others to join protests and fight for equality.
Maureen Colquhoun was the first openly lesbian MP and the first openly LGBT MP. When she was elected, Maureen was married to a man and lived in Sussex with their three children. In 1976 she left her husband and moved to London to live with her new partner who was a woman. A newspaper found out and printed about her in the news against her will. She was deselected from her party and lost her seat as a conservative candidate.
This singer and pianist has sold over 300 million records, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Elton came out as bisexual in a 1976 interview with Rolling Stone, and in 1992 said he was gay. He and his partner were among one of the first couples in the UK to get a civil partnership in 2005 when the law changed to allow gay partnerships to be recognized legally by the government.
*Content adapted from the BBC.
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