LGBT+ History month 2023

A couple enjoy coffee and cake in the British Golf Museum Cafe, St Andrews © VisitScotland / Peter Dibdin

Article published 23/02/2023

LGBT+ History month occurs every February in the UK, acknowledging and celebrating the diversity and achievements of the community as well as reflecting on the challenges that queer people have overcome and still experience, making the month an important reminder for all of the everyday realities the LGBTQIA+ community in Scotland and across the world are faced with.

This year's LGBT+ History month theme is 'Behind the Lens' and it pays homage to those behind the scenes in the creative arts, including writers, actors, choreographers, filmmakers, musicians, and many other talented people.

In Scotland, creative industries comprise of over 15,000 businesses employing more 70,000 people, in addition to many freelancers as well as students studying creative courses. They make an important contribution to Scotland's international reputation.

Scotland's creative industry fosters exceptional homegrown talent that takes the world by storm. With such a wide range of skills and talent, it reiterates Scotland's position as a hub for creative talent as Scottish stories and experiences are continually transformed and shared on global platforms for all to enjoy and possibly relate to.

A spotlight on Scottish talent

One of the leading creative events that celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community in Scotland is the Scottish Queer International Film Festival (SQIFF). Launched in 2015, the annual festival is primarily based in Glasgow, but other smaller events take place across the country year-round. In October 2022, SQIFF hosted a mini-series supported by Film Hub Scotland and delivered an exciting programme of partnerships and workshops, including LGBTI+ Saturday Social in partnership with Luminate, Immigrant Stories with LGBT Unity Scotland and a workshop on d/Deaf approaches to Filmmaking.

Thespian and film star, Alan Cumming, has always been an advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights both on and off the stage. The star of 'GoldenEye', 'The Good Wife' and leading star at the 2022 Edinburgh International Festival play 'Burn', Cumming has promoted many organisations including Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation to advocate equal rights for all.

Edinburgh-born filmmaker, Sarah Drummond, shares the stories of the children, now adults, who were impacted by Section 28, a law introduced in 1988 which prohibited the promotion of homosexuality in the UK until 2003. 'Don't Say Gay' is a feature length documentary which will include personal stories from queer people directly impacted by the legislation during a time of great anguish and sadness for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Acclaimed dancer and choreographer, Michael Clark, came from an Aberdonian farming background but rose to stardom in the world of contemporary dance in the 1980s. Clark has a vibrant career working with acclaimed fashion designers, filmmakers and artists across the world and his life's work was displayed at the V&A Dundee in 2022 as part of the 'Michael Clark: Cosmic Dancer' exhibition.

Glasgow-born grammy-nominated musician and producer, SOPHIE, was a pioneer within the pop world for their electronic avant-pop style and worked with renowned artists, such as Madonna, Charli XCX and more. The transgender popstar sent waves around the world with their multi-award nominated album 'Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides' before their untimely death in 2021.

Scotland is a nation of storytellers and there has never been a shortage of exceptional writers. Val McDermid is a celebrated best-selling crime author whose chilling novels have been brought to our screens, such as 'Karen Pirie' and 'Wire in the Blood'. Douglas Stuart, a Scottish-American author, is set to have his Booker Prize winning novel, 'Shuggie Bain', a story of a young boy growing up gay in working-class Glasgow, transformed onto the TV as part of a BBC adaptation of the book.

Scotland is internationally recognised as a welcoming and inclusive nation and fully supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community. Our venues and partners are happy to discuss how to make events inclusive for all delegates. Read more.