February is a month in which we appreciate celebrate the highs and lows of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history.


The LGBTQ+ community has faced major struggles throughout history, and continues to fight to this day; multitudes of societies worldwide have come a long way in acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, with law changes and movements widely allowing the LGBTQ+ to live freely and happily. 


When I think of LGBTQ+ history, my mind immediately goes to the Stonewall riots of 1969 in Manhattan; these aftermath of these spontaneous riots led to the formation of the Gay Liberation Front (GLF), followed by the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) and the first Gay Pride parade in U.S. history on the one-year anniversary of the riots.


However, looking at Stonewall is going back a mere 42 years in history: LGBTQ+ history month is both about appreciating the struggled of the LGBTQ+ community, and about celebrating the community as they have overcome the struggles faced. In today’s society, broadly speaking, acceptance and celebration of LGBTQ+ individuals have led to us viewing history in a new light. Taking the example of literature, we have a new appreciation for Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, arguably the most well-known of the playwright and poet’s 154 sonnets, in which he contemplates whether he can compare a beautiful young man to a summer’s day. Moreover, Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night has more recently become a strongly LGBT play, with modern adaptations including the National Theatre’s 2017 production; the adaptation includes the character of Olivia’s love-stricken manservant Malvolio becoming Malvolia, who remains in love with Olivia, and it is made amusingly clear that Duke Orsino finds Cesario rather enticing, despite not knowing that Cesario is in fact a young woman, Viola. 


LGBTQ+ history month encourages us to acknowledge and appreciate the role of the LGBTQ+ community in the world as it is today, whether it be through literature, art, politics, or any other element of life that makes our society the way it is. LGBTQ+ individuals such as ex-poet Laurette Dame Carol Ann Duffy and even Alexander the Great are household names, whether they be still influencing the world today like Duffy with her LGBTQ+ positive poetry, or a bisexual military genius of Ancient Greece.  


In the words of LGBTQ+ activist Barbara Grittings: “Equality means more than passing laws. The struggle is really won in the hearts and minds of the community, where it really counts.”