St Edmund's College has been flying the Rainbow Flag on the front page of its College website throughout February in support of LGBT History Month. LGBT History Month is an annual celebration that offers us an opportunity to celebrate the lives and achievements of LGBT communities, to recognise the historical and ongoing struggles for LGBT rights, and to remind ourselves why we need to continue to work for equality for all.
Brendan Mahon, President of St Edmund’s College CR and previously the President of Cambridge University Students’ Union LGBT+ Campaign said:
"This year, England’s official LGBT History Month launch was held at Queens’ College, here in Cambridge.
Every February, LGBT organisations put on events to raise the profile of LGBT figures who’ve contributed to the advances both in society and for LGBT people. For example, the work of Alan Turing, an alumnus of King’s, has arguably changed the world forever, yet he was driven to take his own life by his treatment at the hands of the British government, simply for being gay. He received an official pardon and apology from the government for his treatment; the vast majority of men convicted of the same “crimes” have not.
Today, all around the world, LGBT people face persecution. As we know, Daesh throw men and boys they suspect of homosexuality off high buildings. Russia continues to clamp down on LGBT rights, banning gay “propaganda” if it can influence minors. Trans and non-binary people all over the world face huge persecution, erasure and often violence. In 2015, there were 1,731 murders of trans or non-binary people. This is appalling and we need to do everything we can to stop it.
As well as remembering the fights we still need to win, History Month is a time for remembering those we’ve already won. Same sex marriage is legal in much of Europe, and all of the USA. The great victory of the Irish marriage referendum was probably a high point of the year, the first time ever a referendum has let to legalisation of equal marriage. Whilst Professor Mary McAleese, a Honorary Fellow of St Edmund’s, campaigned for a Yes vote, the increasing irrelevance of those who called the result “a defeat for humanity” was further underlined. Ireland also moved to the forefront of trans rights, with a world-leading way for trans people to have their gender recognised. The UK would do well to learn from the Irish model."