Response to Julie Bindel Appearing on Our LGBT History Month Calendar
Since we released our first statement regarding Julie Bindel and the LGBT History Month calendar, we have had time to assess the situation and convene with the full management committee and our trustees to obtain a consensus. We, the trustees and management committee, represent a range of backgrounds with varied viewpoints and interests. We owe it to our community, and each other, to clarify how our calendar works and why we have taken the decision we have.
When we at Schools OUT UK first launched our events calendar, it was with funding from the Department for Education. A key component of our application was that the calendar should be open to everyone and that we would provide public events listings. It is therefore a requirement that our calendar remain open to everyone in our community.
We neither endorse the events on our calendar, nor do we, as a voluntary organisation without core funding, have the capacity to vet them. The only events we programme ourselves are those that fall under the OUTing the Past festival umbrella, which are organised by festival hub coordinators with our support. We have an inclusive programme which meets our objective of celebrating LGBT lives in all their diversity. This takes place in 14 hubs across the country and the festival is open to the public. We accept proposals for papers between April and May every year, and we invite anyone to submit.
The thousands of third party events staged by individuals, groups and venues during February are the lifeblood of LGBT History Month. We created History Month with the full understanding that the name could and would be used by everyone. For History Month to work, every person in the UK should be able to mark the month in their own way. We encourage you to organise your own LGBT History Month events and to list them on our calendar.
Moving forward, we are reinstating the disclaimer for events that appeared on our old calendar. This clarifies that events are provided for your information only. We also wish to make clear that the default image for listings where one was not provided by organisers was, up until now, our own LGBT History Month logo. This is no longer tenable. Because we cannot vet the calendar, we also cannot be seen to ‘own’ or endorse third-party events. Likewise, we wish to clarify which events we have organised and which we have not. This we will identify on the website but also in each individual listing. Context is everything, and so this statement will appear alongside the Working Class Movement Library event to clarify our position.
The Trustees & Management Committee
Schools OUT UK