Merton promotes LGBT History Month


Merton is holding a series of events throughout February to coincide with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.


By Lucy Jordan

Merton is holding a series of events throughout February to coincide with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.

Events will include a celebration party at Merton Abbey Mills’ William Morris pub on the 17th, featuring comedy cabaret act Claire Benjamin and a screening of ‘Kick Off’, a film about a gay five-a-side football team, at Morden’s Civic Centre on the 29th.

Councilor Edith Macauley, Merton Council Cabinet member for community safety, engagement and equalities said: “Merton’s diversity is something to celebrate and LGBT History Month gives us an opportunity to promote the contributions that the LGBT community has made in the borough.”

As well as the above events, there will be a display at Merton Civic Centre throughout February, looking at the history of the LGBT community in Merton.

“We have had a programme of activity for LGBT History Month in Merton for a number of years now and events have been well attended and have received good feedback,” said Nina Romain, Communications Officer for Merton Council.

“We have a strong track record on promoting equality and diversity in Merton.  We are a diverse borough and we work with our local communities to identify and respond to their needs.”

Many more events will take place around London, including guided tours of LGBT history in Soho on the 17th, 19th and 26th, and lesbian feminist Barbara Hammer’s exhibition at the Tate Modern, which will be running until the 26th.

To help promote tolerance and equality outside of LGBT month there is a suggested lesson plan focusing on the importance of inclusivity is available on the LGBT website for schools to incorporate into their curriculum.

“It makes our community visible and real. So we are no longer outsiders,” said Tony Fenwick, co-chair of LGBT History Month.

“Visibility is the key. It is important that we educate prejudice out of young people before they are damaged by stereotypes, prejudice and the discrimination that manifests itself in our society.

“That is how we stop suicide, self-harm, truancy, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse and all the other things that young people turn to when they are isolated and made to feel alone.”

In addition to this The Guardian’s Teacher Network has published a ‘Tackling homophobia, creating safer spaces’ pack for both primary and secondary level, produced by Schools Out, a campaign group who work towards equality in education.

Schools Out’s Sue Caldwell said: “We feel that it is important that LGBT issues are not dealt with as simply an example of bullying in schools, but that schools embrace diversity in all its forms through the curriculum.  

“In this way young people can become familiar with the concept of someone being lesbian or gay without it being treated as something exceptional or odd.”

Further details on the above events and education packs can be found at:

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