Opinion: Celebrating 28 special people in LGBT History Month

By | Wed 12th February 2014

This month is LGBT History Month, which exists to celebrate the lives of the LGBT Community.

As a gay man and, therefore, a proud member of that community, I wanted to mark this very special month in my own way.

So I decided that every day in February I would write a daily tweet and Facebook post about someone I look up to in our community…an LGBT Hero.

Among those I’ve already tweeted and posted about are a number of Liberal Democrats: Adrian Trett, the former Chair of LGBT+LDs and a top notch LGBT Rights Campaigner; his successor Ed Fordham who was an integral voice in the campaign for Equal Marriage; Baroness Liz Barker, for her brilliant coming out speech as part of the Equal Marriage Bill debate in the Lords; and Stephen Donnan, Convenor of the LGBT group in the Alliance Party, our sister party in Northern Ireland.

Writing these tweets and posts reminds me that our Party has always been there when it comes to fighting for LGBT equality and that we can be proud, especially of our role in ensuring equal marriage became the law of the land.

Other people I’ve tweeted and posted about so far include James Wharton, author of ‘Out in the Army’, Benjamin Cohen, founder of ‘Pink News’ Elly Barnes, founder of ‘Educate and Celebrate-How to make your school LGBT friendly’ and Shaun Dellenty, founder of the Inclusion for All charity.

It’s great to be reminded just how much important work is being done by a host of people and different charities to help support the LGBT community in the ongoing work to ensure full equality.

Though we have, of course, come a long way in recent years and thank the many, many people who’ve played a part, there remains much more to do.

From tackling homophobic bullying wherever it occurs and, especially, in school and the workplace, to ensuring public bodies enact their responsibility, as now expressed in law, to abide by the Public Service Equality Duty; to recognising the particular effects of austerity on the LGBT Community; to standing up against the absolutely shocking and outrageous treatment of LGBT people in different parts of the World, Russia being the most prominent current example, with Sochi hosting the Winter Olympics there.

And, of course, even in terms of Equal Marriage there is still more work to do, lest we forget that Northern Ireland has not taken this stop. So, much to celebrate but also much more to do.

I hope my tweets and Facebook posts this month, celebrating 28 LGBT Heroes (though there are, of course, many more) will add to the wider celebrations and act as a way to thank not only those I’m mentioning but, indeed, all of those past and present-who’ve worked for our equality and to ensure we have a voice.

You can follow my tweets via @HulbertMathew and my Facebook posts here.