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Cllr Attwell, Cabinet Member for Community at Portsmouth City Council, with LGBT flags
Portsmouth flies flags in Guildhall Square throughout February in support of the LGBTQ+ community

This LGBT History Month, Portsmouth will fly the rainbow, transgender, non-binary and pansexual flags in Guildhall Square.

LGBT History Month takes place annually in February, and is a month-long celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history. It aims to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against, the LGBTQ+ community while celebrating its achievement and diversity, and increasing the visibility of the community.

Cllr Chris Attwell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Central Services at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“I am thrilled to be part of this momentous month when we fly these four flags to raise awareness of members of our community who may identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or other. Portsmouth is a diverse and culturally rich city and we want to celebrate all its people regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. It’s part of what makes Portsmouth unique and the city that we love.”

Cllr Claire Udy, LGBT Champion at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“Our teams work hard on LGBTQ+ inclusivity and strategies to help everyone feel welcome in Portsmouth. From training staff to promoting and supporting inclusion in schools, recruiting foster carers in the LGBTQ community to making available books and information through our libraries, we recognise that it takes each and every one of us to build a culture where everyone is comfortable to be themselves without judgement or prejudice. I am proud to be part of marking LGBT History Month.”

LGBT History Month display at Southsea Library, Portsmouth

Activities happening throughout LGBT History Month and beyond

  • At Central, Southsea and Cosham libraries, and through BorrowBox (for ebooks and eAudiobooks), there is a collection of books to mark LGBT History Month. Learn more about the history of the Pride movement, language and terminology on the topic, or inspirational figures of the LGBT community, take look or speak to one of the knowledgeable members of the library team. Visit a branch or the library website
  • Tickets are now on sale for this year’s Portsmouth BookFest 2022, which runs from Monday 21 February to Sunday 13 March. The packed programme of both in person and virtual events includes a Zoom talk by award-winning author, commentator and lawyer, Mohsin Zaidi on Thursday 3 March at 7pm. His memoir, A Dutiful Boy, was named Guardian, GQ and New Statesman Book of the Year; providing a personal insight into issues of diversity and inclusion, mental health and justice. An advocate for LGBT rights, BAME representation and social mobility, Mohsin sits on the board of Stonewall and is listed by The Financial Times as a top future LGBT leader. Tickets cost just ¬£4 and are on sale in any Portsmouth City Council Library or online.
  • Works of art with links to the LGBT community are on display at Portsmouth Museum. Principia Ethica by Philip Core depicts John Maynard Keynes and Duncan Grant, who were lovers from 1908 and remained good friends after. In the decorative art collection, there are pieces by artist Emmanuel Cooper OBE (1938-2012). Cooper was a British studio potter, campaigner for LGBT rights and a writer, editor and critic on arts and crafts.
  • At the Portsmouth History Centre in the central library, visitors can access records and oral interviews of the history of the gay community in Portsmouth. Former residents recount their experiences from as early as the 1930s through to recent memory. Records of newspaper articles can also be read, such as the first official gay pride event in 1999 and the first gay couple of marry in Portsmouth in 2005. Visit Portsmouth History Centre website.
  • HIV has always been closely linked with negative attitudes towards the LGBT community. Portsmouth City Council is getting behind HIV Prevention England’s campaign to reduce HIV-related stigma by encouraging everyone to consider regular HIV testing as anyone can become HIV positive (freetesting.hiv).
  • We celebrate the diversity of our dedicated foster carers including those from the LGBT+ community. A recruitment campaign is now underway for more foster carers from diverse backgrounds to reflect the children and young people in our city. Learn more on foster.portsmouth.gov.uk.
  • In partnership with organisations such as Stonewall, the council also delivers a range of support that aim to remove the barriers to achievement for all Portsmouth children and young people. To access resources with parents, young people, schools and organisations who work with children and young people, visit portsmouth.gov.uk/lgbt
  • Young people can access free, safe and anonymous wellbeing support from kooth.com. If they need to speak to a professional for advice and support, online counselling is available 365 days of the year. There are also forum threads¬†and articles related to identity, gender and sexuality and regular live forums on the site so young people can engage with other users and share their experiences in a safe, moderated discussion.
  • To wrap up LGBT History Month, Cllr Claire Udy, will read a bedtime story for children which will be aired on the council’s social media channels on 28 February – make sure to tune in.
Principia Ethica by Philip Core; Copyright: the Artist's Estate