LGBTQ+ History Month
Below you can find a short piece written by one of our Medical Secretaries, Lily Anderson, who’s a member of Spencer’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
LGBTQ+ are the letters on everyone’s lips these days, from politicians to celebrities and this month marks the 15th annual LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK. Throughout the UK this month the LGBTQ+ community and its allies will be flying the rainbow flag high to mark the sacrifices made by many to achieve the freedom so many of us feel in 2020, and to raise awareness of the ongoing fight for acceptance and equality.
February has been dedicated to this cause to increase awareness of the struggles faced throughout history by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and its primary focus is to teach young and older people alike about the gay rights movement and working to put a stop to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in everyday life.
This year’s theme is Poetry, Prose & Plays and lays tribute to the work and lives of four queer writers that all made history in their fields: Dawn Langley Simmons, E. M. Forster, Lorraine Hansberry and William Shakespeare. But the entire year is dedicated to Lyra Mackee a Northern Irish journalist who sadly lost her life in riots in Derry last year aged just 29. Below is a sonnet by William Shakespeare which perfectly captures the spirit of Poetry, Prose & Plays:
What’s in the brain that ink may character
Which hath not figured to thee my true spirit?
What’s new to speak, what now to register,
That may express my love or thy dear merit?
Nothing, sweet boy; but yet, like prayers divine,
I must each day say o'er the very same,
Counting no old thing old, thou mine, I thine,
Ev'n as when first I hallowed thy fair name.
So that eternal love in love’s fresh case
Weighs not the dust and injury of age,
Nor gives to necessary wrinkles place,
But makes antiquity for aye his page,
Finding the first conceit of love there bred
Where time and outward form would show it dead.
- William Shakespeare
Below you can find a modern interpretation:
What could I possibly write that I haven’t written already,
To show you how constant and faithful my soul is?
What else is there to say, what new thing can I invent,
That would express either my love or your value?
There’s nothing, sweet boy. And yet, just as with prayers to God,
I have to keep saying the same thing over and over again each day,
Without thinking that these old praises are old.
You’re mine, I’m yours, just like when I first honoured your name in writing.
My love for you, which is everlasting,
Doesn’t care about the effects of age,
Nor does it acknowledge your wrinkles,
But always inspires me to describe my feelings as if they were still young.
I see in you the original source of my love for you,
Even though your age and appearance would suggest that the reason for that love is dead.
Whatever you do this month, whether it be something small like buying a pin from the Stonewall Website where all profit from merchandise goes to funding their vital work for LGBT equality or running a marathon in the name of LGBTQ+ progress on the 26th February (26.2 – Marathon Day!). Do it knowing you are making our country, and the rest of the world, a better, happier place to live for all.