February is LGBTQ+ history month: here are 10 of the best places to celebrate it

This year’s event is themed on queer contributions to cinema, with screenings, museum tours, talks and exhibitions from Glasgow to Margate

Since its launch in 2004, LGBTQ+ History Month’s aim has been to increase the visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as well as uncover previously untold stories. This year events take place across the country, from seaside towns to our biggest cities, the theme being #BehindTheLens, a celebration of queer contribution to cinema.

Glasgow: LGBTQ+ tours of the Burrell

Woman with medieval nun statues
Free tours will explore items in the Burrell Collection from an LGBTQ+ perspective. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Southside is an increasingly popular area for the city’s LGBTQ+ community, with Govanhill’s landmark queer bookshop Category Is Books a must-visit. It’s also near the bucolic Pollok Country Park, Glasgow’s largest green space, which houses the recently reopened Burrell Collection. To mark this year’s History Month, free one-hour tours will explore the museum’s Chinese art, medieval treasures and paintings by artists such as Manet, Cézanne and Degas from an LGBTQ+ perspective.
Burrell Collection, every Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm, from 4 February all month, no need to book

London: History Month 2023 Film Series

The Cinema Museum, London.
The Cinema Museum, London. Photograph: Alamy

At the Cinema Museum in Kennington, south London, there’ll be five evenings of films directed by LGBTQ+ film-makers, including It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society in Which He Lives (1971), the film by Rosa von Praunheim that kickstarted the West German gay liberation movement (9 February), An Evening of Shorts by Rosie Adamson-Clark (16 February) and A Woman Is a Woman, a work produced by transgender film-maker Mimi Wong (23 February). A Q&A and discussion takes place after each showing.
cinemamuseum.org.uk, London SE11

Manchester: History Month Literary Salon

old books in library
Inside the Portico Library, Manchester, which is hosting an LGBTQ+ literary salon on 11 February. Photograph: The Portico Library

Founded in 1806, the Regency-era Portico Library is one of Manchester’s longest-running institutions, its collection of 25,000 books and archives spanning more than 450 years. Closed until 1 February for a spruce-up, it’s handily back open in time for this literary salon hosted by Abbi Parcell and Ruby Seddon-Wilson. They will discuss the histories and texts that have empowered LGBTQ+ people over the centuries. Visitors are asked to bring a book that has inspired them.
Portico Library, tickets £3, 11 February, 4-6pm

Wolverhampton: The Singing Forrest – talk with glass artist Max Stewart

The Ancestor sculpture by Max Stewart.
The Ancestor by sculptor Max Stewart. Photograph: Simon Bruntnell

Wolverhampton School of Art has been at the centre of the city’s creativity since the 1850s. Its current home, in a 1970s building that dominates the skyline, is hosting a free talk by sculptor Dr Max Stewart, whose “uncompromisingly brutal” pâte de verre and cast glass work explores his gay male identity. An ongoing exploration of the gay male experience in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany is behind the lecture’s title.
Tickets free, 8 February, 2.30-3.30pm

Camp Margate and Margate Arts Club

Drag queen in red wig
Drag queen Roxy at Margate Pride. Photograph: Joe Lang

Margate Pride was bigger than ever last summer, a celebration that packed the buzzy seaside town over one sweltering weekend. Throughout February, there are queer culture quizzes and book clubs at Cliftonville’s new Northdown Road venue Camp Margate, as well as a new show at the Margate Arts Club called “Is A Drag”, which kicks off on 17 Feb at 7.30pm, promising 10 lip-syncs each night and “kooky, expansive and transformational drag performances”.
Tickets from £5, Margate Arts Club

Norwich: Queer Fest and Queer East

Acts of Gross Indecency, by Mark Mann, will be part of the Queer East art exhibition.
Acts of Gross Indecency, by Mark Mann, will be part of the Queer East art exhibition. Photograph: Mark Mann

The Shoe Factory Social Club in the East Anglian county town offers free warehouse space to the local community during its regeneration. First up is Queer Fest art market, a curated event for artists and makers, selling everything from original prints and jewellery to badges and clothing, with DJs and food and drink stalls (4-5 February, 11am-4pm). This is followed by Queer East art exhibition (10-19 February, midday to 6pm, closed Mondays and Tuesdays), showcasing LGBTQ+ artists, alongside workshops and talks. queerfestnorwich.uk

Eastbourne: Take Desire Away – The Queer Sensibility of AE Housman

Like Hastings and Margate, the south coast resort of Eastbourne has seen its star rise again in recent years. The Grove Theatre, its newest arts venue, underneath Eastbourne Library, is hosting Mansel David’s show about AE Housman, the classics scholar whose 1896 collection of 63 poems, A Shropshire Lad, became a gradual phenomenon. David will uncover “the yearning and passion burning beneath” Housman’s words.
Tickets £12, 4 February, 7.45-9pm, groveeastbourne.com

Brighton: The Identity Project

The Jubilee Library, Brighton
The Jubilee Library, Brighton
Photograph: Edward Simons/Alamy

The vast all-glass Jubilee Library opened in 2005 as part of the Jubilee Square development in the centre of the hedonistic seaside city. It will host the Identity Project, a series of 90 black-and-white portraits of members of its thriving and diverse LGBTQ+ community by award-winning photographer Chris Jepson, who asked his subjects the question: ‘What does identity mean to you?’ On Sunday afternoons there will also be free drag shows at most of the bars around St James’s Street.
Free, 6-26 February, opening times as Jubilee Library

Edinburgh: Making Trans History, Making Trans Futures

The Scottish capital’s Appleton theatre is in the once-controversial Appleton Tower in George Square, a historic area redeveloped by the university in the 1960s. Next month it’s hosting a lecture by Zoë Playdon, author and professor of medical humanities, where she explores trans history through a new lens.
Free, 16 Feb, 5pm-6.30pm, ed.ac.uk

Birmingham: STEM, LGBTQ & You

This networking event for LGBTQ+ History Month aims to help those within the Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines find a queer community. The day includes talks by people with a range of Stem backgrounds, focusing on their experiences of being LGBTQ+ and the intersection with their chosen field. A panel discussion on the theme Sustainability Within Stem closes the event.
24 Feb, 9am-6pm, The Loft, Bromsgrove St, Birmingham, stemlgbtqyou.gay

For full event listings over the month, visit lgbtplushistorymonth.co.uk

• This article was amended on 31 January 2023 to replace an image of a work by the US artist Mark Mann with one of a work by the British artist of the same name as it is the latter who is taking part in the Queer East art exhibition. It was also amended on 10 February 2023 to add venue details for the STEM, LGBTQ & You event.


Stephen Emms

The GuardianTramp

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