Information on this year’s national themes, and what you can get involved with at Kent in February.
What is LGBT+ History Month?
LGBT+ Month is an annual nationwide celebration throughout February, which was started in 1994 to celebrate the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. The history month gives a focus to raise awareness of the prejudice that can still exist, but also to raise up role models, celebrate achievements, and build a more just community. This year, the national theme is Politics in Art: ‘The Arc is Long’, and we at Kent also aim to ‘educate out prejudice’ and open doors for more dialogue and visibility for everyone in our diverse university community.
You can find the Kent LGBT+ History month programme of events on the Kent Union website, featuring both online and in person activities open to all. Look out for exhibitions in the Library and the ‘LGBTQ+ In Lockdown’ exhibition in Keynes Atrium featuring student artists reflecting on what lockdown meant for them, both positive and negative. You might like to take part in a new book club, or try some hands-on activities such as tie dye t-shirt printing, pronoun badge making or Zine creating. There are also educational webinars and seminars on ‘The Experiences of Transgender Students in Higher Education’, Porchlight’s Be You project, a series of highly exciting sessions as part of our ‘Celebrating Consent Day’, Student Support workshops on building resilience, film screenings, a Woody’s Quiz, and the chance to get tickets for the Queer Prom in March. LGBTQ+ flags will also be flying across both the Canterbury and the Medway campus. Check out the webpages for information about the meaning behind each of the unique colours and designs.
Support at Kent
Some of the discussions about LGBTQ+ experiences in lockdown may be challenging to engage with, or provoke feelings that you might benefit from working through in a therapeutic setting. Student Support and Wellbeing are running a therapeutic ‘Reflect, Recover and Empower ‘ workshop explicitly for LGBTQ+ students on 21 February, 7-8.30pm with a particular focus on the personal impact of Covid-19 and coping with future change. Student Support and Wellbeing offer mental health support, counselling and peer support groups to all students. You could also check out our LGBTQ+ self-help resource section online.
Networks and Societies
Kent operates networks and societies for its staff and student Rainbow communities. The Staff Network is open to all staff, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. It runs a confidential mailing list as well as organising different events throughout the year to promote equality and diversity and to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ people and issues. It also organises social events so that staff can network and seek advice and support from fellow colleagues. Please email the staff network if you are interested in joining. The Student Network acts as a voice for LGBTQ+ students to both the University and the Union and helps to ensure informed decisions are made on a practical and strategic level as well as planning events and networking opportunities for new and returning students. Email the Student Network if you are interested in joining. There is also the student LGBTQ+ Society whose primary function is to facilitate a safe space for students of marginalised gender identities and sexualities to socialise and meet other like-minded individuals, helping to develop friendships and support networks. Email the Society if you are interested in joining.
LGBT+ History Month is for LGBTQ+ people and their allies as well. If you want to learn more about being an effective ally and using your power and influence to magnify the voices of underrepresented or marginalised groups, then our online Ally resources are an excellent place to start.
If you’ve been affected by any kind of harassment, bullying or discrimination, you can report this anonymously or by giving details we can follow up on, as well as seek support through the University’s online reporting tool Report + Support
Follow #KentLGBTQHM22 on social media for the latest information on what’s on, and if you would like to contribute your experience and perspective to conversations, podcasts or articles on this theme during the month, please email StudentServicesWeb@kent.ac.uk.
Written by Natalia Crisanti and Becky Lamyman, 01.02.22