On the evening of Tuesday 7 February, members of staff, students (including from our Medway campus) and people from the local community came together to celebrate the launch of LGBT History Month.
Surrounded by reminders of past activists and champions of LGBTQ+ rights from Kent’s history, from the establishment of the first Gay Liberation Group at Kent in 1973, right up to the Lambeth Walk on campus in 2022, attendees took the time to reflect on what LGBT activism has meant before and what it means today. We have clearly come a long way since the 1970’s, through Section 28 and the AIDS pandemic, but there is still so much work to do.
Local Drag Queen, Dame Jame, mingled and chatted with the attendees, but told stories about how she had been physically removed for a night club she had been booked for in the middle of Pride month just last year. Activist Connor Styche spoke to a room filled with people about the challenges he had faced during his transition from female to male, and the friends his parents had lost along the way. Students gave their testimonials about how hard it is to be the only one in a seminar room who gives their pronouns, or the burden of having to be a spokesperson for the community, as well as the importance of safe, inclusive spaces on campus.
LGBT History Month is not just for members of the LGBT community; all are welcome at the numerous events and activities that we have taking place across Canterbury, Medway and online. Come and watch Joyland at the Gulbenkian, take part in a Give It A Go activity, listen to some inspiration speakers like Kent Graduate Rebecca Milsom or Dreamland author Rosa Rankin-Gee, staff members can develop their knowledge and understanding at the Trans Allyship or Supporting Communities Experience Collective Trauma in your Workplace webinars. There are Zine Making workshops and quizzes to have fun in; there is something for everyone and most are free with no booking needed.
Written by Becky Lamyman, Student Services, 08.02.23