Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month In Birmingham

07 February 2024

Taking place across the UK every February, LGBTQ+ History Month is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the progress made and future aspirations in reaching total equality and recognition.

From intimate talks and tours to theatre shows and extravagant drag performances around the UK, February is a chance for us all to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, learn about the inspiring history of civil rights and gay rights movements, and raise awareness of ongoing issues being faced.

This year’s theme is Medicine – #UnderTheScope. The theme celebrates LGBT+ peoples’ contribution to the fields of Medicine and Healthcare both historically and today. The amazing work of LGBT+ staff across the NHS and in other healthcare settings, in providing healthcare, especially during the pandemic, will be showcased. A light will also be shone on the history of the LGBT+ community’s experience of receiving healthcare which has been extremely complicated, leaving LGBT+ people still facing health inequalities even today.

At a time when the LGBT+ community is experiencing a rise in hate crime and hate instances, people are also being encouraged to look ‘Under the Scope’ and listen to LGBT+ peoples’ lived experiences.

Birmingham’s rich LGBTQ+ history

Being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the UK, Birmingham has a rich LGBTQ+ history.

In 1967, the Sexual Offences Act decriminalised sex ‘in private’ between men over the age of 21. This paved the way for the influential LGBT nightclub scene. In the same year, Birmingham’s oldest and most iconic gay club, The Nightingale Club, opened.

Since it was established, the club has played an integral role in building a safe and open community where everyone can be themselves without fear or prejudice. Over the years, it has become a safe space for many LGBTQ+ communities across the region.

In 1976, the Birmingham Lesbian and Gay Community Centre– the first LGBT community centre to be established in the UK- was opened. The centre paved the way for the creation of similar centres in London and Manchester in the 1980s.

The city held its first Birmingham Pride in 1997. This has become one of the most important LGBTQ+ festivals in the UK, attracting thousands of people of all backgrounds to the heart of the Gay Village, where celebrations are held.

This year, on Saturday 25 May, Colmore BID will join tens of thousands of people as we co-ordinate a walking group to form part of the Birmingham Pride Parade march, and we will be looking for people from the District to join us. Each year, over 75,000 people participate in or watch the annual pride parade through the streets of Birmingham. Keep an eye out for more details on how to join the Colmore BID walking group!

Events in Birmingham

Whether you want to learn about the history of the LGBTQ+ community or meet new people, we have detailed some of the free events happening in our District and the wider city centre this month.

The Pride Well Summit: Birmingham LGBTQ+ History Month Health Conference – Free virtual events and webinars, 1 to 29 February

The Pride Well Summit: Birmingham LGBTQ+ History Month Health Conference will run throughout February 2024, to celebrate the national LGBT History Month activities, and focus on the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ people in Birmingham and around the UK. All sessions are free, and topics include LGBTQ+ Sexual Health, Mapping Queerness in the Birmingham Museum Collections, and Health in LGBT+ Older Adults.

More details here: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/birmingham-lgbtq-history-month-health-conference-2994819

Movie Night at the Education Centre, Birmingham Children’s Hospital – Thursday 1 February, 17:30:

This special evening will feature the powerful film Pride; a heartwarming and inspiring true story that beautifully captures the spirit of unity within the LGBTQ+ community. Grab your popcorn, bring your friends, and be part of this cinematic celebration of LGBTQ+ history.

More details here: https://bwc.nhs.uk/news/join-us-for-lgbtq-history-month-events-10975

Shadows of the Rainbow – Zoom event by the University of Birmingham, Wednesday 7 February, 13:00 to 14:00:

During this intersectionality panel discussion, panellists Dr Sammy Li (University of Birmingham), Habiba Abbad (University of Birmingham) and Dr Arun Verma (University of London), will draw upon their experiences, research, and career trajectories in HE to shed light on how sexual orientation/ gender identity intersect with race and ethnicity as protected characteristics.

More details here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/events/lgbt-history-month/2024/shadows-of-the-rainbow.aspx

An End to Be Proud Of – Birmingham Symphony Hall, Wednesday 7 February, 17:00 to 19:30:

B: Music welcomes members of the LGBTQ+ community to come together at Symphony Hall, to talk about end of life care, ageing and leaving a legacy.

Session Contents: Sharing of experiences on end of life with other members of the LGBTQ+ community; Artistic expression of thoughts through poetry, songwriting and music; Creative facilitating from the LGBTQ+ community; Tea and coffee for all who attend. This B: Music project is funded by Hospice UK and Birmingham City Council, and supported by Birmingham Hospice and the Birmingham LGBT Centre.

More details here: https://bmusic.co.uk/events/an-end-to-be-proud-of

Stem, LGBTQ & You 2024 – free networking conference in Birmingham, Wednesday 21 February, 10:00 – 18:00

Taking place on 21 February, this free networking event aims to help those within STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) find an LGBTQ+ community in the UK and increase the scope and reach of oSTEM within the UK. The day will include several invited talks by LGBTQ+ individuals within a range of STEM backgrounds, focusing on their experiences of being LGBTQ+ and the intersection with their field. Throughout the day there will be spaces open for networking and connecting with other attendees, speakers, and sponsors. The day will close with a themed panel discussion – this year’s theme is based on the LGBT+ history month theme of ‘Medicine’. OPEN TO ALLIES, and those not involved in STEM!

More details here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/events/lgbt-history-month/2024/stem-lgbtq-you-2024.aspx

Open Minds Birmingham – gathering at The Warehouse Cafe and Bar Cooperative, Saturday 24 February, from 14:00 to 15:30:

The Open Minds Project is a small volunteer-run organisation that creates safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people with Punjabi or South Asian heritage.

This meeting will focus on how important the food you eat is to your sense of identity, and are there types of food that you think are essential to your identity as a LGBTQIA+ person with South Asian heritage? Attendees will be encouraged to share recipes and after the group finishes there will be an opportunity to continue conversations at a local cafe in Birmingham. More details here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/open-minds-birmingham-tickets-795305128047?aff=erelexpmlt