David Lever, Customer Experience Manager
LGBTQ+ History Month has become an incredibly important event for me from the day I stood on Christopher Street in New York outside The Stonewall Inn in 2003. This was the place it had all started back in 1969 with the Stonewall Riots, and when my LGBTQ+ ancestors first said “no” with such a united, powerful voice, “enough is enough”. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that’s probably the first time I’d really connected with “history” of any kind in that it was so movingly relevant to me and my ability to stand with my now partner for a souvenir picture – in love and freedom.
The subject had largely passed me by, studied but not really connecting with it, until that moment in New York when a whole world of courage and consequence opened to me. And now because of the struggle for civil rights and gay liberation, I’d say I now get why my history teacher at school was always so excited about the subject!
LGBTQ History Month is a big deal to me, but it’s the fact that it’s a living and breathing struggle, with achievements and setbacks along the way, which keeps it fascinating. I’m privileged to live in a country that legislates for me and a city that embraces and celebrates my difference. Many of us are not so lucky, and LGBTQ+ History Month brings all such progress and injustice together. I always look to learn something new in any events run each year, whether that be culture, politics, ancient history or the law.
It’s a time for acknowledgement of incredible courage, commemoration, reflection and gratitude. And it’s also a time to embrace just how diverse and interesting we are in our little acronym – LGBTQ+. I’m a firm believer in the value being the difference that we bring, and that’s certainly been the case in the many LGBTQ+ communities that have stood-up, called-out and championed the cause throughout our history - for equality, respect and acceptance. I’m proud to be part of our living “history”.