1. Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month

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    What is LGBTQ+ History Month?

    First launched in the UK in 2005, LGBT+ History Month is an annual celebration promoting the education of LGBTQ+ issues and the history of the gay rights movement. The month aims to encourage a safer, more inclusive society where the diverse spectrum of sexuality and gender is accepted and discussed openly.

    Schools OUT, an organisation aiming to make schools safe and inclusive for LGBTQ+ students, brought about the first LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK, sparking over 150 events across the country in its first year. 

    This year’s theme is Body, Mind and Spirit. There are many ways you can get involved this year, including OUTing the Past presentations, LGBTQ+ curriculum lesson plans, taking a look at interesting resources and much more.

    What does it mean to identify as LGBTQ+?

    We asked members of the college LGBTQ+ Society what it meant to them. 

    “To me, identifying as LGBTQ+ means having comfort knowing that even if you don’t have anyone close who supports you, there’s always a community, a family, behind you ready to support you 100%. It means having a place to belong even if you don’t feel like you’re worthy of taking up the space you exist in.​” 

    “Being LGBTQ+ is standing out and being different from other people, being true to yourself and being who you truly are for yourself and not others.”

    “It feels like a relief that I’m not the only one who is different. It feels nice when I find someone who is the same as me, as we can help each other because we both know how hard it is to struggle with our sexuality. It feels good having people to talk to about this type of subject, as not everyone understands how you feel.”

    “Being LGBTQ+ to me means that I’m free to be who I am no matter what and I’m surrounded by people who are like me and accept me.”

    LGBTQ+ triumphs in history

    Over the past years, there has been significant progress in recognising the rights of LGBTQ+ people. However, it’s important to take time to reflect on this and how it happened. 


    The Beaumont Society was founded, providing information to the general public, medical and legal professions on ‘transvestism’ and promoted research aimed at a further understanding. The word ‘transvestism’ is no longer used and the current terminology for this is now ‘trans’.

    This society is now the UK’s largest and longest running support group for transgender people and their families.


    This year marks an important milestone in LGBTQ+ history, as the government implements recommendations from the Wolfenden Report for the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which partially legalised same-sex acts in the UK between men over the age of 21 conducted in private. 

    Although an important breakthrough towards equality, there was still a long way to go.


    The UK Gay Liberation Front (GLF) was set up following the Stonewall Riots in New York over the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community by police. Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans-activist, is a key inspirational figure in LGBTQ+ history, as she sparked a series of protests across the world following the Stonewall incident. 

    The GLF campaigned for rights of LGBTQ+ people, encouraging them to question the mainstream institutions in society which led to their oppression. 

    Often protesting in solidarity with other oppressed groups, the GLF launched the very first Pride march in 1972. Pride is now a hugely successful yearly event which is incredibly important for raising awareness of LGBTQ+ and acts as a symbol for oppressed people around the globe. 


    Although the GLF disbanded, this made way for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality; a Manchester-based organisation leading the fight for equality by legal reform. 


    The Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was repealed, meaning students were now able to learn about homosexuality and LGBTQ+ history and rights, with the aim to create a more inclusive environment.


    The Civil Partnership Act was introduced, allowing same-sex couples to legally enter into binding partnerships.

    During this year, the Gender Recognition Act was brought in which gave trans people full legal recognition of their gender, providing them with a new birth certificate.


    LGBTQ+ employees were protected from discrimination, harrassment and victimisation at work through the Equality Act

    This also brought together existing legislation and added protection for trans workers.


    This year marked a significant benchmark in LGBTQ+ history, with the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act allowing same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry. Scotland shortly followed suit with the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act in 2014.

    It’s clear to see the progress that has been made over the last half century, but there is still much more to do for equality and social acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. 

    The LGBTQ+ community are still not treated equally in the UK and face oppression around the world. This month is particularly important in helping to fight for these rights and raise awareness. 

    We can learn from the lessons from our past history and use them to address the issues we still face in today’s society. 

    Celebrating at college

    This year, we will be celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month digitally! Take a look at our list of exciting events and resources across the Luminate Education Group here.

    Take part in our Pride Rainbow Quiz here.

    See how to join in on our LGBTQ+ competition here.

    For further details and information regarding resources or college events please contact or 

    Look at the Harrogate College Student Life Google Classroom to see how you can get involved in activities

    LGBTQ+ support 

    If you are struggling with mental health or just want to chat, there is plenty of support available.

    LGBTQ+ Society

    As a student at Harrogate College, you have access to the Leeds City College LGBTQ+ Society, which provides a safe space for those who identify as LGBTQ+ to be fully themselves without fear of judgement, criticism or discrimination. The society also welcomes straight allies who are encouraged to attend events.

    If you’d like to get involved, visit the page here to see what’s going on. 

    LGBTQ+ Foundation

    The foundation provides a helpline staffed by a team of dedicated staff and volunteer operators who have extensive training.

    Stonewall Youth

    Find information on coming out, health, and LGBTQ+ community groups near you.


    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer mental health service.

    Mermaids UK

    Support for transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families.

    Gendered Intelligence

    Access a number of resources by and for trans young people and gender questioning young people in the UK and beyond.


    Harrogate-based group which offers support and advice to young LGBTQ+ people (aged 13-25). 

    If you’re interested in finding out more about the LGBTQ+ terminology and definitions, take a look at the Stonewall glossary here

  2. Student promotes wellbeing through shoebox initiative

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    Aspiring mental health nurse, Karis Grange, knows first-hand how mental health can affect wellbeing and is determined to support those who are suffering.

    As part of her college social action project, Karis has been volunteering at the Recovery Shoebox Project; a charity providing mental health toolkits for individuals who are struggling.

    A worthy cause

    After receiving a shoebox herself, Karis appreciated the thought and care that went into the box and wanted to help in making a difference.

    “When I was going through a difficult time, the shoebox really cheered me up – I couldn’t believe the effort that had been put into my bespoke box. I decided to volunteer at the Recovery Shoebox Project as my placement, as I wanted to encourage those struggling to not suffer in silence.

    “The initiative was founded and funded by Harrogate resident, Megan Reid, who sadly passed away in February 2019. Her mother, Jo, carried on the project in her honour in order to help individuals with mental health difficulties.

    “Due to Covid-19, the past year has been extremely difficult for many people, especially those suffering from mental health issues. The shoeboxes include useful items, such as tips to manage anxiety, self care ideas, stress balls and Megan’s envelopes of distractions and positivity.”

    Working with the project

    Each week, Karis works with the shoebox initiative to create tailored packages.

    “It’s amazing to be involved with such an important cause. I help organise the boxes and contribute to tips on how to manage insomnia, anxiety and PTSD, quote strips and reasons to carry on fighting. 

    “I really want to promote the message ‘It’s okay not to be okay’ and for individuals to reach out if they’re struggling.”

    Promoting wellbeing

    Karis studies Health and Social Care Extended Diploma Level 3 at Harrogate College and hopes to become a mental health nurse in the future.

    “Following a break from my studies last year due to my mental and physical health, I returned to college determined to pursue a career in the care sector. I’m passionate about talking to other young individuals about the importance of positive mental health.

    “Harrogate College has supported me to achieve my best, constantly helping me work towards my ambition of becoming a mental health nurse.

    “Working with the Recovery Shoebox Project helps me learn how to manage mental health illnesses. If my support with the shoebox has helped even one individual, it will have been incredibly worthwhile. Don’t suffer in silence – order a box if you’re struggling.”

    Read more about how you can work with the charity here.


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