February is LGBT History Month, which marks and celebrates the life stories and achievements of London's LGBT community — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. This year's theme is 'coded lives and hidden histories' with a focus on historical characters such as Anne Lister, Le Chevalier d’Eon Beaumont and Frida Kahlo who all had roles opening up the debate about LGBT issues.
The festival is deliberately inclusive and open to everyone from individuals to families, educators to students and organisations. And the programme is rich and varied with every day this month seeing a different event happening around town. We've selected a few highlights from the festival schedule to get you started:
- Shades of Pink at Song in the City on 12 February. Singers and actors from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama hold a series of concerts dedicated to queer composers of the past. The opening performance features pianist Gavin Roberts. Free, prebook, 1pm
- Pride free screening at Amnesty International UK on 17 February. We spoke to writer Stephen Beresford before this very funny film was released last year, now here's your chance to watch it for free. Free, prebook essential, noon
- An Evening with Jackie Kay takes place at Canada Water Library on 18 February. The well-known poet and author will talk to the audience about her personal life and favourite poems. Free, prebook by email, 7pm
- Fanny & Stella takes place at the National Archives on 19 February. Award-winning author and journalist Neil McKenna tells about the scandalous trial against the cross-dressing couple Fanny and Stella, which shocked Victorian England. Free, just turn up, 6pm
- Making History - Modern London on Screen takes place at Roxy Bar on 19 February. The event features two London-based films that represent LGBT contributions to the capital's history. £3/£2, prebook, 6pm
- LGBT History Month at the V&A on 28 February. During this day-long event, curators, guest speakers and filmmakers will offer alternative queer readings of the museum's objects and consider how sexual identity can inform interpretations of the past. Free, booking info TBC, noon-5.30pm
The boroughs of Camden and Islington are running an independent series of events supported by Camden LGBT Forum. The programme includes exhibitions, talks, walks and even an information fair.
LGBT History Month is on for the whole month of February. Events have different prices and for most of them you can just turn up — see the full programme here. You can help LGBT History Month by making a donation or running a fundraising campaign.