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Home>About the University>Equality, Diversity and Inclusion>News and events>2023>York LGBT History Month - February 2023

LGBT+ History Month 2023

News | Posted on Tuesday 24 January 2023

To celebrate this year's LGBT+ History Month, we're holding a range of events during February.

The Progress Pride Flag flies on campus. A banner at the bottom of the image reads 'Celebrating Diversity'.

Every February, LGBT+ History Month aims to increase the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The month raises awareness of the LGBT+ community's history, lives and experiences in education, culture and society. The national theme for this year is Behind the Lens which aims to highlight the hard work and numerous contributions made by people of the LGBTQ+ community to the production of film and TV programs and we welcome students, staff and the members of the public to join in with our events and conversations.

LGBT+ History month is intended to raise awareness of LGBT+ history, and combat prejudice against LGBT+ people.

It's a time to come together as a community, to learn, inspire, give thanks and continue to push for change. It's a chance to reflect and remember how we got the rights we have now, and to thank those who paved the way for us. We can uncover and tell the stories of those who didn't have rights, remember the lives lost through discrimination and violence and we will continue to fight against ongoing attempts to erode LGBT+ freedoms in the UK and around the world.

Co-Chairs of the Rainbow Alliance staff network

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680

Remembering and reclaiming Dr Brian Kennedy

We 'shine a rainbow-infused light' on alumnus Brian Kennedy who, during his time at York, became a leading figure in GaySoc and wrote for Nouse. Following his graduation, he lived in London, where he continued to advocate for the gay community in a host of ways, including as an editor for City Limits and founder of the Pink Singers.

Read more about Dr Brian Kennedy

Find more LGBT+ history in our Archives

Photo from The Rose Collis Collection

What's on?

Find details below of the events that we're organising; you can also find them on our Celebrating Diversity Events Series calendar - and if you subscribe to the calendar, or to individual events, the details will be added to your own Google calendar so you don't miss things that you're interested in!

4pm - 5.30pm, Anne Lister College Hub.

The University will be hosting an in person event to celebrate Anne Lister’s life, with a documentary film screening, an Anne Lister merchandise giveaway, and a themed food and drinks reception. All are welcome to attend - no booking required.

6pm, Treehouse, Berrick Saul Building.

Featuring James Cummings and Mary Laing (Sociology) and Melissa Oliver-Powell and Natasha Tanna (English and Related Literature). Drinks reception included.

6pm-8pm, Bowland Auditorium

What is love? Still unsure? Love your dog? Love your comrades? Love solitude? Queer joy? Winter blues? Please join us for a sad, glad, and in-between evening of ancient and modern textual explorations. Special guests Dove and JP Seabright will feature alongside York writers tbc, including Ezra Horbury, Maya Caspari, and Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo. A Writer in Residence event with Writers at York.

1pm - 2.30pm, Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building

The Department of English and Related Literature will be holding an informal salon to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month.

A 'salon' is a gathering of people, who come together around a topic, to increase their knowledge through informal conversation. This salon will feature readings of LGBTQ+ works and an informal discussion about how these ideas and identities manifest across history. We welcome all contributions from students and staff who would like to give a reading, but you are completely welcome just to come to listen to the readings and discussion.

The event is flexible and we welcome a variety of material and genres from different periods, as long as they engage with LGBTQ+ themes. If you'd like to contribute your favourite piece of poetry/fiction/nonfiction on this subject, either to read yourself or for us to read for you, please send it along! We also encourage you to bring your own work, be it creative or academic. If you've written something you'd like to share, be it a poem about LGBTQ+ identity or a short essay offering a queer reading of Paradise Lost, do send it along! Material should be sent in advance of the event (preferably by Wednesday 15 February, but we will try to fit everything in) to

12 noon -1.30pm, PL/005 and online.

Join writer and historian Kit Heyam to discuss their latest book Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender - a global history of gender nonconformity and a call for new approaches to trans history. Kit will read from the book and talk about the ideas that inspired it, as well as sharing stories of trans history from across the world. From York to Angola, Before We Were Trans shows us that people have always been doing fascinating, creative, messy things with gender, and inspires new ways to think about our past. Find out more and book your ticket.

City-wide and national events

There are other LGBT+ History Month events taking place within the city and across the country.

The York LGBT Forum run regular coffee mornings, meetings, workshops and a community choir. They are planning events for LGBT+ History Month. Please see their LGBTHM events programme, the York LGBT Forum Facebook page or their events calendar for the latest information.

  • Wednesday 15 February, 5pm: An evening with Dr Cheddar Gorgeous
  • Wednesday 22 February, 4pm - 6pm: Can you Adam and Eve it? Queering Heterosexuality in the Genesis Narrative - a talk by Dr Chris Greenough. Booking required.
  • Thursday 23 February, 3:30pm-7pm: Celebrating Gentleman Jack: Changing Lives. Booking required.
  • Thursday 23 February, 7pm - 10pm: YSJ Chaplaincy and LGBTQ+ Soc screening of But I’m a Cheerleader, followed by a discussion on the church’s appalling history with conversion therapy,  in the Creative Centre Screening Room. No booking required.

The national LGBT+ History Month website includes an event calendar which anyone can add events to and search. It includes both in-person and online events.

Watch again

We have some recordings from previous LGBT+ History Months and other related awareness events available for you to watch again via the University’s Celebrating Diversity and York Ideas YouTube channels. Revisit some of the following:

Resources and related activities

The Anne Lister Scholarship

The University is now offering a new PhD scholarship, providing an opportunity to study the life and works of 19th Century Yorkshire landowner, traveller and diarist, Anne Lister

The Rainbow Alliance staff network

'Rainbow Alliance' is the new name chosen by members of the staff network to represent our LGBTQIA staff community. Previous feedback from staff suggested the original name (LGBTI+ Staff Matters) was far too much of a mouthful, hard to remember or simply didn't represent their identity or life experiences. 

As part of our re-brand, the network is reorganising itself through a series of practical changes (including a review of our existing Terms of Reference and Objectives), to promote and raise visibility and awareness of the network, through introducing a number of sub-groups to drive forward activity in key areas such as policy development, social activities, engagement and through resource development. 

If you are interested in getting involved in any of the activities mentioned, please do get in touch at

Guidance for supporting Trans students

The University is committed to creating an environment that is safe, inclusive and welcoming for all staff and students. This includes supporting people who wish to make or have made changes to their gender identity. The University has recently developed guidance for supporting trans students which include extensive information about sources of support, university processes and things to know for students wishing to transition and those staff supporting them.

The University is currently developing guidance to support Trans staff. Find more information and view the guidance for supporting trans students.

Trans awareness training sessions

The University offers regular online trans awareness training sessions for staff and postgraduates who teach which receive positive feedback from those attending. There are currently three further sessions scheduled for 2023.

Equality monitoring for staff 

To support the University's aim of improving the experience and opportunities for all staff, we must understand the identities and characteristics of all our staff. You can help by updating your records and completing any missing information; your personal data will be used anonymously to help us identify trends and highlight any significant differences between groups. Find out more about Equality monitoring for staff.

You can update your information by:

  • Logging in to MyView
  • Select 'My Equality and Diversity'
  • Update your details using the drop-down options and select 'Update now'

It's important we have a rich understanding of the composition of our people. I am much happier knowing that I'm able to be myself at work and don't feel the need to be someone else. That's not always the case for everyone though. By learning more, we can invest in the right type of support and facilities and address issues of underrepresentation in certain areas or roles.

Hannah Smith, Co-Chair of the LGBTI+ Matters Staff Network

Glossary of EDI Terminology

In order to understand who we are as a University community and to gain a better insight into the diverse identities of our staff and students, it is important for us to be aware of the equality, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) terminology that is associated with individuals and groups.

With that in mind, we have compiled a glossary of ED&I terms, intended as a starting point for people to further their knowledge and understanding of this area. 

Take a look at our Gender and Sexual orientation sections. 

All gender toilets

For several years, the University has introduced a number of inclusive facilities across campus, including all gender toilet facilities. We have made a commitment to installing at least one all gender toilet in all new buildings built by the University across our campuses. You can search for these facilities via the campus map, by typing in 'all gender toilets'.

We also maintain gendered and accessible facilities in all areas for those who need or prefer them.

Contact us

Equality and Diversity Office
+44 (0)1904 324680