February marks LGBTQ history month.
Since launching in 2004, the whole idea of the month-long celebration is to increase the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other LGBTQ people – as well as shine a light on historical LGBTQ events, communities and individuals.
The theme for this year is Behind The Lens, celebrating LGBTQ peoples’ contribution to cinema – but it goes without saying that there are so many different ways you can mark the month, not just through film.
From museums and tours to country houses, there are a number of ways to immerse yourself in LGBTQ history in the UK.
We’ve rounded up some, all designed to celebrate and educate.
Queer Britain Museum, London
This venue in the capital is the UK’s first museum dedicated to LGBTQ people – so is a great place to start.
Queer Britain’s director previously said he hopes the museum can act as ‘a place where the community can look back at their past and understand where they’ve come from, in order to understand who they are now’.
The introductory exhibition, We Are Queer Britain, marks the 50th anniversary of the UK’s first Pride March and showcases activism, art, culture and social history covering over 100 years.
Be sure to check out other February events in London to mark LGBTQ history month, too.
Bishopsgate Institute, London
Bishopsgate Institute’s Special Collections and Archives holds one of the most extensive collections on LGBTQ history, politics and culture in the UK – from the late 19th century onwards.
The library is brimming with 10,000 LGBTQ titles – including academic papers, biographies, fiction and poetry – along with over 700 journal titles. So there’s plenty to get stuck into.
National Trust spots, nationwide
There’s lots of LGBTQ history to uncover at various National Trust spots across the UK.
Wightwick Manor in Wolverhampton, for example, holds 10 paintings by Pre-Raphaelite gay artist Simeon Solomon. While other UK locations house works by LGBTQ creatives and trailblazing figures.
It’s worth pointing out that in 2020, the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) launched the Queer Heritage and Collections Network alongside the National Trust and other institutions, with the aim of sharing knowledge, skills, expertise and best practice across national and regional heritage sites.
LGBTQ tours of the Burrell, Glasgow
The Burrell Collection museum in Glasgow is offering free one-hour tours to mark this year’s LGBTQ history month.
Visitors will be able to explore the museum’s Chinese art, medieval treasures and paintings by artists – such as Manet, Cézanne and Degas – from an LGBTQ perspective.
The Identity Project, Brighton
This project by award-winning British photographer Chris Jepson, explores what it means to identify as a member of the LGBTQ community today.
In total, 90 black-and-white portraits of people from all walks of life make up the exhibition – including Metro.co.uk’s previous guest editor Dr Ranj, Lizzie Lawton and Jason Jones.
LGBTQ History Month Literary Salon, Manchester
Dive into the histories and texts that have inspired and empowered LGBTQ people over the centuries at the Portico Library in Manchester this month.
Abbi Parcell and Ruby Seddon-Wilson are leading the session, on February 11, and encourage guests to bring a book that’s inspired them.
LGBT History Month – Behind the Lens, Warrington
To mark this year’s theme, this event in Warrington shows how design and the visual arts can assist with raising awareness about LGBTQ inclusion.
Short films by Lucas Rodrigues and Jace Traynor-Barry will be discussed and Craig Sherwood is set to give a talk on the life and legacy of British gay fashion designer, Ossie Clark.
Chiswick House, London
Chiswick House is brimming with LGBTQ history – mainly as it was home to Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire – who had a number of affairs with women, all documented through letters.
She and her husband even entered into a polyamorous relationship with Lady Elizabeth Foster, who they invited to live with them.
History Month 2023 Film Series, London
To mark this year’s theme, the Cinema Museum in Kennington will be hosting five evenings of films directed by LGBTQ film-makers – with a Q&A after each screening.
The line-up for this year includes It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives, An Evening of Shorts by Rosie Adamson-Clark and A Woman Is a Woman.
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected].