NHS Celebrate LGBT History

Publish Date: 02/02/2011

On 1st February to mark LGB&T History Month 2011, NHS North West launched a timeline to celebrate the involvement of LGBT people in health and health care through the ages.

it was recently announced that the LGBT Timeline is shortlisted under the ‘best internal communications campaign’ category of the Public Services Communications Awards 2011: http://www.how-do-psca.co.uk/content/information/Shortlist

Two videos, one to promote the LGBT History Timeline and another for the BME History Timeline, are now available in British Sign Language.

LGBT Timeline BSL video | BME Timeline BSL video

The NHS LGBT timeline is a partner to 2008's BME history timeline, and was produced in partnership with the Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) and the Trans Resource & Empowerment Centre (TREC).

See the LGBT timeline online now!

The timeline celebrates the history and achievements of LGB&T people, and the development of a vibrant and active community in the North West.

The exhibition which is currently touring the North West will soon be made available as a booklet and a PDF document, so that individuals and organisations can share the work and use it as an inspiration to encourage recognition of LGBT contributions.

Taking the format of various exhibition panels, the physical exhibition takes the viewer on a journey from Ancient Greece, and investigates Native American and Medieval British attitudes towards homosexuality and trans issues, right through to modern day challenges and achievements.

Many key figures are celebrated in the timeline which covers the following periods in detail:

19th Century - The early exploration of ideas around homosexuality mean that transgender issues were not seen as anything to do with gender and therefore not recognised.

Early 20th Century - A more enlightened discussion aims to move away form criminalisation and towards more understanding of diverse sexual orientation and gender recognition.

1930s - Homosexuality is still largely seen as an illness and the first 'sex change' is documented in the British press.

1940s - Persecution by the Nazi's includes using medieval experiments to try and cure homosexuality.

1950s - Transexuality gains a higher profile in the media and the first serious movements towards legalising homosexuality begin.

1960s - The eventual legalisation of (male) homosexuality means that although no longer a crime, public opinion remains largely hostile. Gender reassignment becomes more accessible and transexuality is recognised independently.

1970s - Gay liberation sees the first gay prides take place and more information on trans issues becomes available

1980s - Dominated by AIDS, LGB issues become linked to the problems of understanding and fighting the virus and attitudes towards it.

1990s - The LGBT community begins to organise itself and take the lead on providing support and services.

2000s - Ground breaking legislation means that more equal rights become available for LGBT People.

2010s - The Equality Act brings together 40 years of equality legislation but mental and sexual health issues disproportionately affect our communities.

At the launch event of the LGBT Timeline, Shahnaz Ali, NHS North West Associate Director of Equality and Diversity said that it was important to acknowledge LGBT contributions, particularly those that have contributed to healthcare over the years, which have been immense.

Christine Burns MBE who works in Equality & Diversity within the NHS served as an advisor on the project and and is also a patron of LGBT History Month. Christine drew attention to the fact that history gives hope as to how we can make progress for LGBT people. "Knowing our histories might just make life a bit easier for our communities to have role models and assure our place in organisations like the NHS." She said.

Paul Martin Chief Executive of LGF paid tribute to the Equality and Diversity team at NHS North West for their groundbreaking work and highlighted that significant changes within healthcare are currently taking place, and projects which recognise LGBT contributions give an important opportunity to see how much has been achieved and help us to look forward to what remains to be achieved for the future.

The LGBT timeline is being made available to share as a celebration of LGB&T history. For more on where it can be shown, please contact Heather Williams by calling 0845 3 303030 or email heather.williams@lgf.org.uk