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LGBTQ+ History Month 2024

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LGBTQ+ History Month

Join us in the celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month!

February marks the month we proudly observe LGBTQ+ History, a dedicated period to honor and celebrate the invaluable contributions of the LGBTQ+ community throughout history.

Embracing the ethos of diversity and fostering an inclusive environment, our Students' Union and the University of Brighton will be hosting a series of engaging events and enlightening discussions that will span the entire month. This initiative is not only an opportunity to pay homage to the rich tapestry of LGBTQ+ history but also a chance for our community to come together, learn, and grow in understanding and acceptance.

To further enrich your experience, we encourage you to connect with various LGBTQ+ organisations, student groups, and support networks available within our university community. Strengthening these connections helps build a more supportive and inclusive atmosphere for everyone. Find out more about dedicated LGBTQ+ support.

In the true spirit of celebration, we invite you to share your stories, perspectives, and experiences throughout the month. Let us create a space where voices are heard, identities are celebrated, and understanding flourishes.

You can find out more about the month here.

Events throughout the month:

From Gay Day to Pride: LGBT History Month Supper Club, 4th Feb, 6pm-10pm 

Tote bag making, 14th Feb, 2pm-4pm, The Venue

The Venue Quiz - Queer History Edition, 20th Feb, 7pm-9pm, The Venue

Button badge and flag making, 21st Feb, 2pm-4pm, The Venue

LGBTQ+ awareness training with All Sorts, 22nd Feb, 9.30am-12.30pm 

Screening of "The Celluloid Closet", 22nd Feb, 7.40pm, White Wall Cinema

Painting crafternoon, 28th Feb, 2pm-4pm, The Venue

Mixed Gender Touch Rugby, Every Friday, 5.30pm-7pm, Falmer Sports Centre

Recommendations from our LGBTQ+ Super Rep:

Heartwarming books

The Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman.

Heartstopper is a heartwarming graphic novel about young queer love & discovering yourself. The story is primarily set in a British high school, and features a love story between a quiet, arty kid & a rowdy rugby boy. I originally discovered this series through WebToon, the original site they’re published on, and read all four books in the same day! They’re incredibly sweet, and a nice simple read with beautiful illustrations. Although this series of books does tackle some triggering content, the overarching story is one of hope & love. As well as the books, this also recently came out as a Netflix show - perfect if you’re not much of a reader!

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey Mcquiston.

This is an epic love story between two incredibly influential characters. Alex is the latine first son of the United States, with hopes of someday becoming president himself one day. Meanwhile, Henry is the prince of England, who wants nothing more than a life outside of the public eye. They hate each other, until a public scandal forces them to spend extended periods of time together. This is a personal comfort book of mine, as I love the connection the two main characters have together. As well as this, it features some really quirky side characters who really bring the story to life! As well as the book, this has also recently become a heartwarming movie featuring both Nicholas Galitzine & Taylor Zakhar Perez.

Forward March by Skye Quinlan.

Written by a queer author, this book is a heartwarming sapphic love story set during the final years of a boarding school in America. Harper is a stereotypical band geek, who finds that somebody has been catfishing as her on a dating app. Although Harper is originally furious, she finds that this might not have been all bad, and more importantly discovers who she is along the way. My favourite element of this book is that it includes huge asexual, non-binary, gay & sapphic representation, as well as an incredibly cute love story between two girls that is sure to melt your heart.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender.

This book was hard to categorise as either “heartwarming”, or “tear jerking” as really it's a bit of both. The main character, Felix Love, wants so desperately to fall in love. However, as a Black transgender, queer man he finds it hard to fit in, and is subject to bullying at school due to his identity. The book features some harsh transphobia at the beginning, but eventually turns into a love story - but I wouldn’t say that's the most heartwarming thing about this book. Really, what sells this book for me is the journey you go through within it, as you read Felix discover himself through his raw internal dialogue you can’t help but feel like you’re going through this with him. I cannot recommend it enough, for everybody but especially for those who have struggled with their gender identities.

She Gets The Girl by Rachael Lippincott & Alyson Derrick.

Set within freshman year of college (or the first year of university), this sapphic love story features two polar opposite characters. Molly is incredibly organised, but totally awkward and has had a crush on the same girl for awhile… but has yet to talk to her. Meanwhile Alex knows how to get the girl, but has no idea how to keep them. When Alex gets dumped, she agrees to help Molly talk to her crush in hopes it’ll help her ex see her in a better light - but these two do not get on, and the task proves harder than necessary. This book is a tad cheesy, which just happens to be my favourite genre - and I cannot recommend it enough for a great heartwarming sapphic love story.

Tear-Jerking books

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid.

Evelyn Hugo was an incredibly renown film star from the 50s to the 80s, before abruptly leaving public life. Little is known about her personal life, except for the fact that she married seven men in her thirty years of fame - but nobody knows why. When Evelyn Hugo contacts Monique Grant - a small reporter in LA - about an exclusive look into the past, what secrets will be revealed? This is one of my all-time favourite books, about queer love in a time where it wasn't allowed. This story does have happy elements, but the ending (and elements in between) has me in tears every time I reread so come prepared!

The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

Set in ancient Greece, this story follows Achilles, the beautiful & smart son of the gods. Achilles forms a seemingly unbreakable bond with Patroclus, a prince who was exiled after a shocking act of violence. They come together to help rescue a kidnapped friend - but is this how they meet their fate? The book is actually based on the Trojan War, with both main characters being real people who actually fought in the war - and the author is said to have spent ten years researching and writing this book to be accurate! This book is simultaneously a beautiful love story and a devastating historical retelling of the original Greek mythology.

Holding The Man by Timothy Conigrave.

Holding The Man is a memoir set in the 70s & 80s in Australia, following the story of Timothy Conigrave. Timothy knew he was gay from a young age, and the story starts with him exploring this and discovering who he is along the way. Eventually he meets John, the captain of the high school team, and the story tells of their unlikely love. Throughout this book, we experience all the ups and downs of their relationship during this time - of which there are a lot of. This book is incredibly devastating in places and is sure to have you in tears.

The Last Time I Wore A Dress by Dylan Scholinski.

Dylan Scholinski was institutionalised in the 80s for three years after being diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder - a now outdated term for Gender Dysphoria. His treatment included lessons on makeup, how to walk like a girl etc and cost over a million dollars over the course of three years. This memoir follows his traumatic journey through the system, in an entertaining way but still handling incredibly traumatic events and topics. It's a hard read, but also an incredibly interesting retelling of the mental health industry in the time and life as a gender queer person in a time when it was treated as an illness.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong.

This story is incredibly haunting. It's written from the perspective of a twenty-year-old, who is writing a letter to his mother who cannot read. The letter includes parts of his life that he wishes he could tell to her, surrounding themes of race, class and masculinity. It features a complicated, but unforgettable love between a single mother, who immigrated from Vietnam to America, and her son, who grew up in Connecticut. He recalls stories of his childhood, his relationship with their family, and his heartbreaking first love. This is not only an incredibly sad story for many different reasons, but a beautiful one as well.

Heartwarming series/movies

But I’m a Cheerleader.

But I’m a Cheerleader follows Megan, the cheerleader, whose parents send her to “True Directions,” a conversion camp for LGBTQ+ individuals. Here, Megan is forced to come to terms with her sexuality, and alongside other Queer teens her age, she is forced to learn how to live a straight life. There, she makes some great friends with other “reforming” teens, who shows her the life she could live, if she could only be true to herself. This movie features some hilarious takes on homophobic stereotypes, and overall is a lovely story about coming to terms with your sexuality, and the sacrifices people have been forced to make to live their life how they want to, no matter what others think of it.

Pride.

Set in 1984, during the Miners Strikes & Margaret Thatcher's time in office, this movie is about a group of LGBTQ+ activists, at a pride festival, raising money for the families of striking miners. However, when they bring this money to the mining union, who are cautious to associate with such a taboo group. The story follows along on the unpredictable relationship between the two marginalised groups, and the journey that both groups take to receive support for their causes and respect within their communities. This movie is based on a true story, and you cannot help but to be inspired by the end of it.

Love, Simon.

Based on the best-selling book “Simon vs The Homosapien Agenda” (another great read), this book follows Simon, a 17-year-old closeted kid, as he falls in love with an anonymous teen at his school. Neither knows who the boy they’re talking to is, but despite this, they share everything with each other - but is their love enough to publicly come out & finally reveal who they are to each other? This movie is a great watch, although it has its ups and downs it has a beautiful ending featuring supportive friends and family - who doesn’t love that?

Heartstopper

I am aware that I’ve already recommended the graphic novels to you, but the series is so good in its own right I just had to include it here as well. This series is a great, short watch - with currently only two series - and features Kit Conner & Joe Locke. The series, like the books, features a great love story between the two boys, and is an inspirational story about discovering yourself, as well as believing in yourself. This is a comfort series for me, I always find myself coming back to it when times are tough, and I hope it can have the same effect on you.

Everything Sucks!

This is another short watch, featuring Peyton Kennedy & Sydney Sweeney, and is set in the 90s. It follows a group of high school outcasts, set in the town of Boring in America, trying to experience the highs and lows of their teenage years. They decide they’re sick of being ignored, and team up to make a movie - which successfully helps them get noticed. This series features a main, sapphic relationship and although I absolutely love it & would highly recommend it, it was cancelled after the first season and therefore doesn’t have a particularly satisfying ending.

Tear-jerking series/movies

My Policeman

Set in Brighton during the 1950s, this movie follows the life of Tom, a Policeman. Marion meets him at the beach and slowly falls in love with him, however she is unaware that Tom has eyes for Patrick, a museum curator. Patrick and Tom could be arrested for being together, so Tom decides to marry Marion for his own security - but can anyone truly be happy in a makeshift marriage? Based on the book of the same name, this movie is a beautiful true story and showcases a lovely queer romance, but the ending is not a happy one - don’t say you haven’t been warned.

The Fear Street Trilogy

This one is a much longer watch, consisting of three movies - that is fear street part one, two and three. These are all horror movies, and part one and three include main sapphic relationships. Within the movies, the town of shadyville is under a curse causing people to become murderous, and a group of teens have to try to find out why, and how to stop it. My favourite movie is the third, which is set in 1666, and features a romance between Sarah Fier & Hannah Miller, something that is seen as inherently evil at the time. This is a great watch if you love horror movies, and the queer themes are a great edition.

Carol

Featuring Cate Blanchett, Carol is a movie featuring a sapphic affair. Carol Aird is going through a tricky divorce with her husband, and meets Therese Belivet at a department store in Manhattan. They go on to fall in love, but set in the 1950s, this wasn’t allowed - especially by two people in relationships. Based on the 1950s novel of the same name, this movie is sure to have anyone in tears - in fact it was named one of the best LGBTQ+ film of all time by the British Film Institute, as well as one of the greatest films of the 21st century by the BBC!

The imitation game

This film is completely devastating, and it's a very true story that should be much better known. This movie tells the story of Alan Turing, the mathematician who helped us to win the Second World War and helped to create modern computer science. However, there is so much more to this story than his scientific achievements - and this amazing movie tells - making it a must-watch, especially during LGBTQ+ history month.

Brokeback Mountain

Set in 1963, this movie features a love between two shepherds throughout their lives. The two end up getting married & having their own, separate families - but they can never really stay apart. The movie is based on a book of the same name, won three academy awards, and features huge names such as Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal. This story is heartbreaking, but an absolute must-watch as a beautiful movie.

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