February means LGBT+ History Month — and London knows how to celebrate in style. Whether you'r after drag acts, walking tours or film screenings, we've got you covered.
Also: read our article on how learning your local LGBTQ+ history can be an empowering experience.
There's a loooot happening to celebrate LGBT+ History Month in London. Here are some of the hundreds of events that've caught our eye. Many of these are also free:
Get stuck into special LGBT+ History Month events in London
- Film screenings, HIV & STI testing, creative activities, workshops... it's all happening at FEST!, taking place at Postive East (2 February)
- Raze Collective hosts a showcase of top-notch queer talent at this cabaret night at Stratford's Old Town hall (3 February)
- Feeling crafty? Join a Pride banner making workshop at Wood Green Library (4 February)
- Bermondsey Project Space has a whole range of LGBT+ History Month happenings going down, including fringe theatre show TEEF, which explores hidden queerness and inter-class relationships; and poetry night Queer Noise (6-28 February)
- Explore a history of sodomy, led by Professor Alice Taylor and hosted by Proudly King's (7 February)
- People in the Hounslow area should check out this afternoon of talks, including Sabah Choudrey on being trans and Muslim (10 February)
- Nobody's Perfect at St Pancras Hospital explores how representation of LGBTQ+ people has changed on the big screen over the decades (15 February)
- Take the kids along to hear Dani the storyteller tell engaging stories about London's queer history (17 February)
- 700 years of queer lives are celebrated at the Tower of London, with an after-hours theatrical tour from a flamboyant 'raven', who introduces you to LGBTQ figures from the 14th century through to today (18-25 February)
- A special coffee morning at Kilburn Library sees author Stephen Bourne give an overview of his various books on the histories of gay men (22 February)
- The British Museum is celebrating LGBTQ+ film, by screening seminal shorts including Gay Black Group and What am I? (25 February)
Swot up on London's LGBTQ+ history in a museum
In 2022, London got its own dedicated LGBTQ+ museum, Queer Britain in King's Cross. Right now, you can still catch the inaugural exhibition, We Are Queer Britain, which documents 100 years of LGBTQ+ history — through a riot of voices, images and objects. It's free to visit.
On 18 February, Greenwich's National Maritime Museum hosts Out at Sea — a free, day-long festival celebrating queer maritime history through time. With workshops, storytelling, and a special tour of the museum, it's fun for all the family. And nearby, there's a special queer evening aboard the Cutty Sark on 24 February, hosted by drag king and queen, Adam All and Apple Derrieres.
Tate Modern hosts free LGBTQIA+ tours of its collection (1, 18, 25 February)
Bishopsgate Institute near Liverpool Street station is home to a jaw-droppingly huge LGBTQ+ archive, featuring everything from personal photo collections to the UK Leather and Fetish Archives. You can explore some of it online, or delve deeper by booking an in-person visit. This month the venue also hosts 'anti-Valentine's Day' evening, Desire in the Archive (10 February).
Over at the British Museum, you can discover wine amphora featuring erotic scenes, and the figure of a cross-gender Maya ruler, on the Desire, love, identity: LGBTQ histories trail. It's not a special LGBT+ History Month event — you can go anytime.
Go on an LGBTQ+ walking tour
If you prefer to get your history fix on the move, London With a Local hosts free two-hour tours, taking you on a journey that spans the queer influence of the Romans, through to the iconic Heaven nightclub.
Find gay tombs in Westminster Abbey and learn about Georgina Somerset, the UK's first openly identified intersex woman, on LGBT+ History: From Law Breakers to Party Makers, a tour from Dani the Guide.
Guide Richard Cohen hosts a one-off LGBTQ+ tour of Soho and Covent Garden, From Mollies to Pride, on 26 February.
We'd also highly recommend Dragged Around London's super fun walking tours, where you're invited to mince through the city, and have a gay old time, while genning up on its queer heroes.
All that history learning can be exhausting, so you're probably going to want to party too. Check out our list of great LGBTQ+ bars and pubs around London — from Ealing, to Soho to Dalston — as well as our guide to the queer capital.
You can, of course, catch fantastic drag and cabaret everywhere from the RVT to Two Brewers to The Glory. This February in particular, VAULT Festival has a number of drag and cabaret shows doing their thang in the atmospheric spaces beneath Waterloo station, including King Frankie Sinatra, Phyllida Sings! and Queerdos Cabaret.
Read our archive of LGBTQ+ articles
And for the morning after the night before? Put on the kettle and dip into some of Londonist's LGBTQ+ articles:
- A History Of Soho's LGBTQ+ Bars
- London's Obsession With Drag Brunches
- London's Queer, Sex-Positive Spaces: How They Lift Us Up, And Let Us Down
- 'Sodomite’s Walk' And Other Secrets Of 18th Century Queer London
- "I Created A London Club Night For Queer People Of Colour"
- "Why I Started A London Trans Choir"
- "I Quit Football Because Of Homophobia - Then I Discovered The London Titans"