Philip Baldwin, LGBT/HIV activist

© M J Chapman

© M J Chapman

When I was sitting my GCSEs and A-levels at school, around the turn of the millennium, there was no mention of LGBT issues in the curriculum. In my history of art classes I think Michelangelo’s portrait drawings of Andrea Quaratesi and Tommaso dei Cavalieri were described as depicting a studio assistant and an aristocratic patron. This was not untrue. More importantly though, both men were Michelangelo’s lovers. That was the driving force behind why the artist chose to record their likenesses.

The goal of LGBT History Month is to raise awareness about the crucial role LGBT people have played in history, allowing us to challenge prejudice, reclaim our past, understand the present and work towards a better future. February 2019 marks the 115th annual celebration of our history and culture. The fun of this month is that there is no set way of approaching it. You can dip into it as much or as little as you like. There is a diverse array of events. Perhaps do one of the special LGBT-themed evening tours at the National Gallery of Ireland, attend a play, or alternatively hear Stuart Milk, nephew of the pioneering LGBT activist Harvey Milk, speak about human rights.

This year’s theme – Peace, Reconciliation and Activism – is particularly pertinent, as our country is going through a period of extreme change. Both nationally and internationally, there is a real need for such things. Whether it is the divisions caused by Brexit, the Syrian refugee crisis or human rights in Russia, it is more important than ever for people of all sexualities, genders, religions and nationalities to come together, campaign and fight for what we know to be right.

lgbthistorymonth.org.uk

@philipcbaldwin

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