Twelve things to do in your local boroughs during LGBT+ History Month

Pic: Hackney Council

LGBT+ History Month is celebrated across the UK every February to share the, for a long time hidden, history of LGBT+ people. This year marks 20 years since it was founded, and across the Eastlondonlines boroughs, an array of events will take place to contribute to the History Month’s purpose of claiming the past, celebrating the present, and creating the future of LGBT+ people.

ARCHIVING DESIRES: A badge café exhibition:

January 28 to February 25, Tower Hamlets – Free

An exhibition consisting of badges and collages running throughout the month explores how LGBTQ+ people searched for connection before the digital era, and how queer people today connect with the material from the past. You can join the artist behind it all, Ben Walters, for a tour of the exhibition on Sunday February 11 at noon, or participate in badge-making workshops that are running every Sunday this February (and might make your work part of the exhibition).

Queer Quest Hackney:

February 1 to February 29, Hackney – Free

Camp Trans invites you to explore Hackney through its queer historic venues. The route should take around 60 minutes, and you can collect ink stamps for each of the locations by picking a Queer Quest Hackney zine at any of the participating venues. The tour will take you past places such as Dalston Superstore and the queer arts venue VFD.

Parlour Gallery – Pansy Dell:

February 2 to March 9 (Fridays and Saturdays), Lewisham – Free

Triangle LGBTQ+ Cultural Centre in Deptford is launching a new gallery to open LGBT+ History Month, with a preview on Friday February 2. Their first exhibition consists of new works by south London based artist Wayne Lucas

Drag Makeup Workshop:

February 8, Croydon – £3 or pay what you can

Bring a mirror and your makeup, and experiment with it to create a new drag look or develop an existing one, all while being inspired by other participants and getting the chance to try new materials. 

Evening Talks: Fanny and Stella: The Two Young Men Who Shocked Victorian England:

February 8, Tower Hamlets – £12 to attend in person, £6 to attend on Zoom

Bow Street Police Museum is hosting a talk with award-winning journalist and author Neil McKenna about Frederick Park and Ernest Bolton who in 1870 were arrested in full drag, as Fanny and Stella, and brought to Bow Magistrates Court. To help McKenna tell their story, he will have “a cast of peers and politicians, detectives and drag queens”.

LGBTQ+ History Month Quiz Night and Social:

February 10, Lewisham – £3

Test your knowledge of LGBTQ+ History in a quiz, play a “super gay bingo”, and participate in an art competition for a chance to win prizes at Triangle LGBTQ+ Cultural Centre’s History Month Social night.

A Man, dressed as a Woman, dressed as a Man…and other imaginings from the world of Steven Appleby:

February 16, Lewisham – £3

Participate in an evening of conversation, cartoons and crossdressing with cartoonist, artist and author Steven Appleby, a regular contributor to newspapers such as the Guardian and The Times. Steven’s graphic novel DRAGMAN will be available to buy on the night.

Croydon PrideFest Showcase:

February 22, Croydon – £10

With a night filled with music, performances and raffles hosted by Croydon Pride, money will be raised to fund the Croydon PrideFest 2024 – London’s second biggest Pride Festival.

Queer East London Fest:

February 22, Tower Hamlets – Free

Positive Eastelop and Tower Hamlets LGBT+ Community Forum have teamed up to arrange a night celebrating LGBT+ History Month with short film screenings, workshops, panel discussions, games and stalls. 

ParaPride 2024: Marking LGBTQ+ History:

February 24, Hackney – £7.50 (Concessions £5, accompanying tickets for carers free)

The charity ParaPride, working to empower disabled LGBTQ+ people, is putting on a day at Hoxton Hall, filled with acts such as DJ sets, acrobatic performances and a panel discussion about empowering intersectional identities. There will also be a networking area and bars open. 

Pride and Protest in the Cost of Living Crisis:

February 25, Hackney – Free (with optional donation)

The LGBTQ+ homelessness charity Stonewall Housing is putting on screenings, a spoken-word performance and a collage workshop at Rio Cinema. The films screened will be the documentary Less, revolving around LGBTQ+ homelessness in connection to faith and culture, and the short film The Archive, Queer Nigerians.

Queering Poetic Form Workshop:

February 29, Croydon – £3 or pay what you can

This poetry writing workshop will consist of reading queer and trans poets’ work and then invite participants to write in response to it. There will also be space to share the writing, for those who wish to.  

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