LGBT+ History Month started as a celebration of the history of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) people in the United States of America in 1994.

Though it’s observed in October in North America and Australia, LGBT+ History Month has been the month of February in the UK since 2005, to coincide with the end of Section 28. It is by now annually organised by Schools OUT UK charity, for LGBTQ+ education in the UK.

There are also annual themes, this year’s being ‘Politics in Art - ‘The Arc is Long’’. The ‘+’ was added to LGBT in LGBT History Month in 2021 to show its inclusivity also to the rest of the LGBT+ community. ‘LGBTQ+’ plus is also used for the same reason.

READ MORE: Mapped - The 'lost' LGBT history of Cardiff

Senedd Cymru has celebrated LGBT History Month since 2012, which was organised by the historian Norena Shopland, who specialises in Welsh LGBTQ+ history.

Then poet laureate Gillian Clarke read a poem about the Ladies of Llangollen, which she wrote to the LGBT+ community of Wales - probably the first time a national poet laureate dedicated a poem to the LGBTQ+ community of their country.

The historian John Davies spoke excellently about the LGBT+ History of Wales. Most famous for ‘A History of Wales,’ John Davies himself came out as gay in the 1990s in response to the treatment of bisexual MP Ron Davies.

Since 2012, the Welsh Assembly has flown the rainbow flag of the LGBTQ+ community, along with many other governmental buildings around Wales.

In 2017, Norenda book Forbidden Lives: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Stories from Wales was published by Seren Books, the first book fully dedicated to the LGBTQ+ history of Wales.

So to those who may wonder if there even is a LGBTQ+ history of Wales, this book, and other resources since, show that there absolutely is. It’s an exciting area of Welsh history that’s still being explored and uncovered today. The book includes the stories of the Ladies of Llangollen, Cranogwen (Sarah Jane Rees), Marged ferch Ifan, the decriminalisation of homosexuality and much more.

The National Wales: February is LGBTQ History Month in Wales. Source: PAFebruary is LGBTQ History Month in Wales. Source: PA

‘Queer Welsh Stories’ shares the LGBTQ+ history of Wales online, at @QueerWelsh on Twitter, @QueerWelshStories on Instagram and in blog pages. On these pages, I will also share the LGBTQ+ History Month events happening in Wales this year, as I attempt to do every year.

Here are some of the highlights of the LGBTQ+ events that’ll be happening this year for LGBT+ History Month:

Y Ddraig Amryliw / The Multicoloured Dragon

Bangor University is organising a ‘LGBTQ+ and Wales’ conference online on the 3rd of February, the first of its kind. It’ll start with an introduction by the Vice Chancellor, Iwan Davies, followed by a talk on the ‘Theatr of Aled Jones’ by Dr Gareth Llyr Edwards of Aberystwyth University and ‘LGBTQ+ History Training and why do we need it’ by Norena Shopland.

Following a break, it’ll resume with ‘LGBTQ Society, Sociology and Contemporary Wales’ by Dr Rhian Hodges of Bangor University before a lunch break.

The afternoon will have a talk with presenter Mirain Iwerydd, who came out on her Twitter page in December 2021, then ‘The Multicoloured Lives of our Children’s Literature’ by Dr Siwan Rosser of Aberystwyth University,’ a talk by Iestyn Wyn of Stonewall Cymru and a closing discussion at 14:45 by Dr Gareth Evans Jones of Bangor.

The conference will be in Welsh with simultaneous English translation.

Paned o Gê

Throughout the month, Paned o Gê will be running LGBTQ+ History Month events, both in Welsh and English, with more details to come on the events. They will start on the 6th of February with a showing of ‘The Eyes of Tammy Faye’ at Chapter Arts Centre, and then discussions at the Queer Emporium on the 10th and 13th.

I will be at the ‘Clwb Cymraeg,’ helping to run the discussion on Welsh LGBTQ+ History in Welsh. More for the next of the month includes the regular ‘Bottoms Up’ Book & Wine Club on the 16th, a Queer Book Exchange on the 20th, ‘Camp yn y Llyfrgell’ at The Golden Cross on the 24th (with Rania Vamvaka of Glitter Cymru) and a Sober Book Club on the 28th.

Keep an eye out for more details to come on Paned o Gê’s social media!

The Queer Emporium

The first Queer Emporium in Wales (and the UK) regularly runs events for the LGBTQ+ community in Cardiff. Though the Night of LGBTQ+ Comedy is already sold out, Welsh Ballroom Community: Love is the Message takes part on the 19th of February and The Queer Gala will take place on the 24th of February, all at the Queer Emporium itself.

National Museum of Wales

Two talks will be run by the National Museum of Wales, including a talk by Mark Etheridge on the LGBTQ+ collection at St Fagans on the 24th of February, online.

Aberration Cymru

In both February and March, Aberration Cymru are highlighting a number of events in and around Aberystwyth. Iris Prize films will be shown at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on the 12th of February, and the excellent documentary film ‘Rebel Dykes’ at Magic Lantern Cinema in Tywyn, which will again be shown with a Q&A at Aberystwyth Arts Centre on the 26th of February, along with an earlier ‘Pride is a Protest’ workshop by Sarah-Joy Ford. Then in March, Aberration Cymru’s annual bigger LGBTQ+ History Month event will take place on the 26th of March. ‘Banners & Ballads’ at Aberystwyth Arts Centre will be an evening of talks with Jeffrey Weeks, gay activist and historian from the Rhondda, Norena Shopland, Jane Traies, Billie-Gina Thomason, plus more socialising and fun.

So keep an eye out for these LGBTQ+ History Month events, both online and in various parts of Wales, throughout the month of February and beyond, whether you want an introduction to the LGBTQ+ History of Wales or a more in-depth look. If you are already interested in this history, you may also be interested in the LGBTQ+ Research Group Wales, which meets regularly online, find them at @LGBTQHanesCymru on Twitter.

Mair Jones is a historian and you can find her @QueerWelsh on Twitter.

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