Written by Rebecca Cameron, Supervising Social Worker

This week marks the start of LGBT+ History Month 2023,  an annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, Transgender, and non-binary history and the related civil rights movements. The campaigns throughout the month are dedicated to raising awareness of the issues facing the LGBT+ community and to celebrate diversity amongst its members. In the UK, LGBT+ History Month is celebrated in February to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28. 

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 had banned local authorities and schools from ‘intentionally promoting homosexuality’. This had deprived generations of LGBT pupils the chance of seeing people like them in the books, plays, leaflets or films their schools could stock or show. Teachers weren’t allowed to teach about same-sex relationships; anyone who broke the law could face disciplinary action. (Source: Stonewall 2023).

Its repeal had already happened in Scotland in 2000. This was one of the very first acts of the newly devolved Scottish Parliament.

Significant history has also been made recently, as for the first time in 200 years the Census for England and Wales (2021) , and Scotland (2022) have officially counted individuals who identify themselves as LGBT+.

We recently visited The Hive LGBT+ Centre, in Kirkcaldy, Fife, where we were able to find out about some of the services which they offer to LGBT+ people in the local area. The Hive opened its doors in 2022 and offers; a safe space for individuals in the community to use, a café, community pantry, meeting rooms and even a recording studio! Members from our team also enjoyed reading and learning about the history of Pride in Scotland, and the wider UK, from their exhibitions on display in the Centre.

We had a productive chat with Pink Saltire’s founder, Stuart Duffy, who let us know about lots of supportive services available in the Fife area:

Pink Saltire

The Hive - Fifes LGBT+ Centre

Frontline Fife - Homelessness, Housing Advice, Short-term Housing Support, and Addictions Support

Transgender Fife

Hive Happy Heads Youth Group

As well as some from the rest of Scotland:

LGBT Youth Scotland

Four Pillars – Supporting Grampian’s LGBT+ Community

Dumfries & Galloway LGBT Plus

There will be a number of events running throughout February to celebrate LGBT+ History Month, organised by community groups, schools, volunteers, activists, and organisations from the private, public and third sectors. Anyone can take part in these, and we would love to hear from you if you do!

You can also visit www.lgbthistory.org.uk to see a list of upcoming events in Scotland.