Since 2005, February has been designated nationally as LGBT+ history month – a month-long celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Non-Binary history including the history of LGBT+ rights and related civil rights movements.
This year, the School is once again using it as an opportunity to raise awareness of LGBT+ matters among pupils and staff. In events led by Houses, departments, tutor groups, societies and individuals, we are encouraging all Haileyburians to get involved so that they can learn how to support LGBT+ friends and peers and create an inclusive school environment.
The theme this year is “Behind the Lens”, a celebration of LGBT+ figures who have used their roles as film directors, producers, scriptwriters or photographers, to influence the narrative of LGBT+ portrayal on our screens. The Pride Alliance (a group of pupils and staff who are members of, or allies to, the LGBT+ community) have led the way by writing daily profiles to share with all – recognising the work of key figures across film and stage.
Events this month include: Pupil-led assemblies; House film nights and book clubs; a webinar with eminent Italian transgender poet Giovanna Cristina Vivinetto; LGBT+ themed classes across different departments, for example examining Nazi policies towards homosexuals in the Removes’ History course; a music and art exhibition; and a social event in the Grubber.
Each week Dr Parker and the HIKS / Library team will recommend books, plays and articles penned by LGBT+ writers, or featuring LGBT+ characters and themes. An exhibition of the work of former Haileybury teacher, E. J. Miller – Behind the Curtain, Edward Miller and Writing Queer Theatre – can be seen in the Library throughout February (with further details here.)
We are proud to be a school which values and celebrates difference, and where homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language and behaviour have no place. Ultimately, our aim is to ensure that LGBT+ people in our community feel included, supported and seen; and that the allyship of the wider community is similarly visible. Teachers have been invited to wear rainbow lanyards and badges, we have Pride flags adorning the Grubber and in every House, and the cast of Les Misérables waved the Progress flag from the barricades last week. Progress indeed.