Labels - We might hate them at times but they can be useful
LGBT (or GLBT) is an abbreviation used as a collective term to refer to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,
and Transgender people. It is an adaptation of the abbreviation LGB. While still controversial,
it is considered less controversial than the terms queer or lesbigay and is more comprehensive
than homosexual or simply gay. The acronym GLBT is sometimes used in the United States and commonly
in Australia, but to a lesser extent elsewhere.
LGBT history refers to the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender cultures around the
world, dating back to the first recorded instances of same-sex love and sexuality within ancient
Among historical figures, some were recorded as having relations with others of their own sex –
exclusively or together with opposite-sex relations – while others were recorded as only having
relations with the opposite sex. However, the history of the former, marked as it is by persecution
and misunderstanding, has often been overlooked or suppressed. The field of LGBT history is thus
In recent times, some countries have begun to observe "LGBT History Month" to recognize the
contributions and events related to LGBT communities.
In the United Kingdom
LGBT History Month was instigated in the UK by Sue Sanders and Schools Out and first took place in
February 2005. The event came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 and is intended to raise
awareness of, and combat prejudice against, an otherwise substantially invisible minority.
The first celebration of the month in 2005 saw the organisation of over 150 events around the UK.
The organisation's website received over 50,000 hits in February 2005. The organisation received a
new logo designed by Tony Malone in 2006, he has also 'modified' the logo for 2007.
The initiative received government backing from the deputy DfES and Equalities Minister Jacqui Smith,
although some sections of the press argued against its political correctness, and pointed out that the
sexuality of some historical figures is more a matter of speculation than fact. Supporters of the event
countered that it is important to challenge heterosexist attitudes in society. LGBT History Month is
intended to be an annual event in the United Kingdom taking place every February to coincide with St.
The DfES promised funding for LGBT History Month for the first two years to help get the event off the
ground. It is now quite well established and has garnered support from other sources. There will be a
2007 launch event in November 2006.
In 2005 and 2006, LGBT History Month was celebrated in Scotland as an LGBT community event, receiving
support from LGBT community history projects such as Our Story Scotland and Remember When.
For 2007 and 2008, the Scottish Executive provided funding for a post at LGBT Youth Scotland to bring
LGBT History Month into the wider community, including schools and youth groups.
In this context, lesbian refers to females with a sexual orientation towards females only.
In this context, gay refers specifically to males with a sexual orientation towards males only; and
the gay male community, though the term can be used without respect to the gender of the person in
question in wider contexts. Some aspects of stereotypical gay male culture are seen in, and sometimes
said to be the basis of, metrosexual traits amongst some straight males.
Bisexual refers to persons who are attracted more than just one gender. While traditionally bisexuality
has been defined as 'an attraction to both males and females', it commonly encompasses Pansexuality,
'an attraction where the gender of the partner is of little or no relevance' (i.e. to male, female, and
any other gender identity). Bisexuality covers anywhere between the sexual orientations of asexuality,
homosexuality, and heterosexuality.
Transgender is generally used as a catch-all umbrella term for a variety of individuals,
and groups centered around the full or partial reversal of gender roles as well as physical sexual
reassignment therapies (which can be just hormonal or involve various degrees of surgical alteration).
A common definition is "People who feel that the gender they were assigned (usually at birth) is a false
or incomplete description of themselves." Included in this definition are a number of well known
sub-categories such as transsexual, transvestite and sometimes genderqueers.