As 2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act – decriminalising male homosexuality in England and Wales – there’s an added sense of celebration to February’s rainbow of LGBT events
Even the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have been overtaken by more fluid descriptions of how people express their sexuality. It’s a myth that lesbianism was never illegal because Queen Victoria didn’t believe it existed. However, it was only in 2000 that individuals could at last be openly LGBT in the armed forces; trans people got the right to change their legal gender as recently as 2005; and in Northern Ireland same-sex marriage still hasn’t been legalised.
So, there is some cause for partying, but there’s also a lot of work still to be done. Through 2017 there are several blockbuster LGBT events, including Tate Britain’s ‘Queer British Art 1861-1967’ exhibition (Apr 5-Oct 1). And this month alone, you’ll find all manner of arts, education and social events taking place.
Here are a few highlights, so whether you’re L, G, B, T, Q, I or straight, prepare to be enlightened, inspired and entertained. And whatever you are, just be.
Be a party animal
An evening of revelry inspired by James I’s openly gay lifestyle. There will be drinking, specially devised playlets by performance artist Scottee and playwright Mark Ravenhill, and workshops exploring the Stuart penchant for cross-dressing and wearing make-up. Banqueting House. Feb 22. £10.
This exhibition traces the history of legal equality – the 1967 Sexual offences Act, the Gay Liberation Front, the fight to repeal 1988’s Section 28 and more. LSE Library. Until Apr 7. Free.
A month of events including a talk about LGBT lives in the armed forces, Outing The Past (Feb 7), and half-term family activities celebrating gay sailors, female pirates and merpeople. National Maritime Museum. All month. Free.
Photo by Max Alexander
This festival of art, music, cabaret, comedy and film includes an extract of David Dandridge’s play 'New Cross Spartacus' and Rosie Wilby’s 'The Conscious Uncoupling' show. Omnibus Clapham. Mon Feb 6-11. £5-£12.
Be a rad queen
An evening of talk and performance, co-hosted by Dan de la Motte and presented by Queer Tours of London – A Mince Through Time. The Glory. Mon Feb 6. £5 donation.