LGBTQ+ History Month

LGBTQ+ History Month

Capel is proud to support LGBTQ+ history month, which is celebrated in February in the UK

LGBTQ+ History Month is a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBTQ+ rights and the related civil rights movements.

In the United Kingdom it is celebrated each year, to coincide with the 2003 abolition of Section 28. Please see information below about section 28, and hear stories from some brave individuals who fought for its abolition and the struggles that they faced, and in many ways still face today.

That is why LGBT+ History Month was initiated in the UK by Schools Out UK and first took place in February 2005. The event is intended to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, LGBTQ+ people and history.


Noah's Blog
Please check out this blog, written by our very own student Noah from foundation learning - As a trans guy living in a transphobic household, he is keen to tell us how we can all become allies:

What does transgender mean?

Transgender is when someone whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned as at birth.

What does non-binary mean?

People who identify as non-binary, meaning their gender is neither male nor female but somewhere in between. Non-binary people also come under the trans umbrella.

What is cisgender?

someone who’s gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had or was identified as having at birth.

What is an ally?

An ally is a straight person or a cis person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality and LGBT social movements.

SLURS:

Transphobia is still unfortunately a very big problem today, and these terms is often used in a derogatory and violent way. While reclaimed by the trans community, cis individuals should really not use these.

  • TR*NNY Like the anti-gay f-word, the term tr*nny is commonly used to humiliate and degrade transgender individuals.
  • SHE-MALE The shemale slur is regarded as degrading by the trans community because it denies the gender identity of trans women/man, same with the term he-she.

What is Gender Dysphoria?

Gender dysphoria is experienced by all transgender people, it results in the person feeling discomfort with their body as it does not match their gender identity. This disconnects between their body and identity can lead to 3 main types of dysphoria: body dysphoria, social dysphoria, and mind dysphoria

Body dysphoria is the discomfort with one's body, an example of this is chest dysphoria. Social dysphoria is the discomfort with how on is perceived by others, examples include dysphoria caused by being misgendered by strangers. Mind dysphoria is the discomfort caused when one feels like their thoughts or emotions are at odds with their gender identity.

What does gender/body dysphoria feel like?

Gender dysphoria can feel different for everyone. It can be distress, depression, anxiety, restlessness, and unhappiness. It could feel like anger or sadness.


Personal Experiences

As a trans guy living in a transphobic household, it is hard for me to be myself and the only time I can feel myself is when I’m surrounded by my friends who support me. Constantly hearing my birth-name and being referred to as she/her pronouns pains me physically and mentally; and it makes me feel completely drained and demotivated to do anything.

My experience with dysphoria got worse throughout the years due to my familial situation but also mainly due to the transphobic attitudes of many of my peers. My school years were very difficult, I have constantly dealt with people throwing slurs at me, people thinking I’m a freak, and people dead naming me. It affected me so deeply that I became deeply suicidal. I couldn’t concentrate on my education and I couldn’t be bothered to do anything with my life. No one knew how I felt, I just kept bottling it up inside of me. Unfortunately, these event still happen to trans teens today, and the rates of suicide amongst transgender teens is far higher than the risk of suicide amongst their cisgender peers.

As a non-binary person, I experience extreme social dysphoria and often feel as though I don't look masculine enough for others to see me how I see myself. This can often be isolating and debilitating as I experience extreme levels of stress at being viewed as female when I go out, which results in me staying in more and not taking part in social activities. It also makes it really hard to explore things like style because I constantly worry that I will look 'too feminine' and that I will therefore be misgendered and interpreted incorrectly.

- Alex (they/them)

My main dysphoria is in my voice because it's not 'feminine enough' to be cis, my masculine facial features, facial hair or shadows (greyish area where facial hair grows), my eyes not being feminine enough (including lashes), my eyebrows being too thick, and my hairline, kind of, with my hair not being long or 'feminine enough'. It just feels like as a trans girl, it’s like you’re a feminine guy trying too hard when I just want to be a cis girl, live the teenage girl life, and become a woman.

- Mel (she/her)


Things NOT to say to Trans People

Authored by Schuyler Bailer @pinkmantaray

"What were you born as?"
You don’t need to know what gender anyone was assigned at birth to respect and interact with them. This is an unnecessary and invasive question. Additionally, the wording of this question implies that trans people have changed gender when we come out, but in reality, we have just affirmed our true gender. That is, I am a boy, and I have always been. I just haven’t always had the resources, courage, and language to declare so. So, I was not actually 'born a girl', I was only assigned female at birth.

"You don’t LOOK transgender" & "I never would have known!"
Transgender is not a look; it is an identity. There is no one way to 'look' transgender. The misconception that you will always be able to 'tell' when a person is transgender is misguided at best, and toxic at worst. Trans people do not look a certain way. Trans people are just people.

"You pass so well"
Many people perceive this to be a compliment, but this has a backhanded meaning. It is the same as saying: "You fit MY box of man/womanhood - yay!". This is neither appropriate or kind. It means that it is not okay to look transgender. But our identities and presentation are just not about you or your opinion of us. This expression also perpetuates the false belief that gender expression always equals gender identity.

"What’s your real name?"
The names we use are 'real'. When you must know a person's name, for legal purposes, please make it clear e.g., "because we must interact with your insurance company, I must ask you what your legal name is. I know this can be painful, so I apologise for this discomfort. If you’d like to write it down instead of speaking it, that’s totally fine". It really does help.

"What was your name before/birthname?"
For trans people, names given at or before birth are called deadnames. Using a trans person's deadname is called deadnaming. Please don’t ask for, or use, anyone's deadname. Deadnames can often bring forth a great deal of traumatic memories for trans people, and can be very painful to even say aloud.

"You’re so attractive for a transgender person." & "But why are you more attractive than me? That’s so unfair"
Trans people are not inherently less attractive than cis people. The belief that we are somehow lesser than cis people is not only inaccurate, but really harmful and transphobic. Don’t add 'for a trans person' to a compliment. If you feel the need to do so, ask yourself why? Most likely you are harbouring an implicit bias against trans people.

"Did you get the surgery?"
Asking a trans person if they have had 'the surgery', is the same as asking what their genitals look like. which is very strange, personally invasive, inappropriate, and completely irrelevant. Also, there is no such thing as the surgery. There are at least 14 distinct surgical procedures that trans people can elect to undertake.

"Are you going to do the full complete/whole transition?"
There is no one way to transition. Everyone’s transition is different. Also, it is no secret to us trans people that asking us if we will get the 'full transition' is being asked about what is in our underwear.

"What surgeries are you going to have?", "Are you taking/will you take hormones?" & "Do you still have a vagina/penis?"
These are all incredibly invasive, and irreverent to most interactions. That is, if you do not ask strangers to provide their medical history, then you should not ask a trans person. If you don’t ask strangers what their penis or clitoris looks like, then you should not ask a trans person. If you do ask strangers this, then please, reassess your priorities.

"But you were such a pretty girl/handsome man!", "Why are you destroying your man/womanhood?" & "You’re ruining your body."
My transition is:

  • For my happiness
  • For my congruence
  • For my peace
  • For me.

My transition is not:

  • To make others comfortable or happy
  • To fit into others’ standards of manhood
  • To be attractive
  • To be beautiful
  • To garner approval of my beauty

"This is so hard for me." & "I am just so used to your deadname/other pronouns that it is so hard to change."
Although none of this is about you, it is allowed to feel hard for you. That feeling is valid because feelings are always valid. Actions caused by those feelings are not always valid. Just because a task is hard, it does not mean that you should avoid it. You absolutely can, and absolutely should do the hard things but recognise that mistakes will happen. What matters most is how you deal with mistakes. Apologise and correct yourself, remember that habit and history are not valid excuses. Habit and history can most certainly explain difficulties and reflexive actions, but as time progresses, tolerance builds and mistakes decrease, as does tolerance of mistakes.

"When did you choose/decide to be transgender?"
Being transgender is not something that anyone decided to choose. People can decide to come out, people can choose to transition, but being transgender, is itself an identity. No one has to do anything to be transgender. Nothing happens to make someone trans, people are just transgender.


How to be a Trans Ally

  • If someone chooses to come out to you as trans, this means they trust you. Make sure to honour that trust by checking with them before telling anyone else, as they may not want others to know.
  • Educate yourself, do research about things you could ask and thinks you should not ask.
  • Do not follow transphobic people on social media. If you have trans friends, like people who are trans or trans allies. Following openly transphobic people that are disrespectful to the trans community, supports them and shows trans people that you do not care all that much.
  • Putting your pronouns in your online biographies. This reminds people that we should never assume person's gender. It also shows trans people that your account is accepting of gender diversity and is therefore a safe space for them to visit and to engage with.


Resources List & Links

Please check out our fascinating links which we be adding to throughout the month of February.

We will explore LGBTQ+ history, why this month long celebration month began, and why it is so important for us at Capel Manor College to continue to be ambassadors for full understanding and respect.

Throughout the month we will be exploring the different aspects within the LGBTQ+ community, We fully recognise that within this community, there are so many different experiences. So please keep engaging with us as we explore and find out more.

  1. Capel Manor Library - LGBT Presentation
  2. The Village by Warbel, this song and the video has helped and supported many Transgender people going through a similar journey. It is a beautifully told story with very powerful words, and is dedicated to all the colourful birds.
  3. Before The Act Podcasts and Information about the notorious Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988.
  4. Section 28 Explained - Hear Sue Sanders, founder of LGBT History Month, and chair of Schools OUT UK, explain the history of Section 28, and how Section 28 affected LGBTQ+ teachers and students with a ban of LGBTQ+ teaching materials in schools.
  5. Outright International's Exploration of the LGBTQ+ Acronym
  6. Head Space the daily struggles of a Transgender person.
  7. All About Trans
  8. Care Management Group, CHANGE and Choice Support - Transgender: An easy read guide
  9. Pink News - What is gender dysphoria? Here’s what you need to know if you are feeling uneasy with your gender, or if you just want to know more about dysphoria and what it all means. 
  10. NHS Overview of Gender Dysphoria Overview
  11. LGBT+ History Month

We want to hear from you

If you have anything that you would like to share that tells your story, or has inspired you, please feel free to email Jaimie jaimie.squillino@capel.ac.uk as we would love to hear from you.


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Last modified: Tuesday, 30 March 2021, 1:21 PM