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Celebrations for LGBT history month

By Sarah Rollo

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A MORAY secondary is holding a series of events to mark LGBT History month, which runs throughout February.

Speyside High is running assemblies and community screenings, while Elgin Library has also organised special sessions to mark the annual celebration.

LGBT History month takes place to educate people on the history of the gay rights movement while promoting an inclusive modern society.

In doing so, it provides education and insight into the issues the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender + community faces.

A series of events are taking place in Moray to makr LGBT History Month.
A series of events are taking place in Moray to makr LGBT History Month.

This year is significant for the LGBT+ movement, as it marks 20 years since the repeal of Section 28 in Scotland. That was the clause that made it illegal for local authorities to promote homosexuality, or same-sex relationships as being an acceptable family dynamic.

All month Elgin Library will have LGBT+ reading lists for all ages, information stands and a display showing how society has changed for the better for the LGBT+ community in the last 20 years.

The library’s Facebook page will showcase historical novels containing LGBT themes by posting weekly recommended reads and borrowers will have the opportunity to record their views on LGBT+ rights over the last 20 years.

At Speyside High, youngsters have attended assemblies focusing on the importance of acceptance and being yourself.

They have also relaunched the LGBTQ+ school group, which provides a supportive environment for LGBT+ pupils, campaigns against homophobia, and educates on gender issues.

In addition, two LGBT screenings will take place and are open to the local community to attend.

The Laramie Project, which tells the story of the aftermath of the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, will be shown on February 12 at 7pm. That will be followed on February 27 by a screening of The Death and Life of Marsha P Johnson, at 6pm. Both will be followed by discussions and are open to anyone aged 15 and over.

John Naples-Campbell, the school's principal teacher of performing arts, received the first General Teaching Council for Scotland Professional Recognition Award for Equality and Diversity as a result of his efforts to raise awareness of LGBT issues. He is also a member of the Time for Inclusive Education Campaign.

He said: "Every student in the school took part in a LGBT history month talk about the importance of acceptance and being yourself. We discussed the background of Section 28 and touched on why February is the month of equity, before looking at how to be yourself in the workplace, school and in life.

"I told them about my coming out story as an openly gay teacher and they've also had a chance to discuss issues and to share thoughts."

Scotland is leading the way and will become the first country in the world to have LGBT inclusive education embedded in the curriculum.

Mr Naples-Campbell said: "The notion is that young people need to see the communities in which they live in a curriculum which they are being taught.

"It is important I can be who I want to be within my work and it is important for the young people I teach that they know they can be who they want to be."

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