The event, hosted by the Unions’ LGBT society in the Parkinson building, was attended by around 100 students and dignitaries including the Pro-Vice Chancellor Vivien Jones and local MP Rachel Reeves.
After drinks and speeches, the Parkinson building was illuminated purple and dozens of multi-coloured balloons were set off to officially mark the start of this year’s events.
Alan Holmes, Co-Chair of Leeds LGBT Society told Leeds Student why he thinks it is important to commemorate LGBT History Month:
“LGBT History Month is here to celebrate LGBT history and is held in February each year. We get together to remember everything that the LGBT community has fought for and to look towards the future to see what we still need to achieve, what our goals are and how we can go about achieving them”.
He added that this year’s theme is based on Alan Turing, the ‘founder of computer science’.
MPs will this week be voting on whether to allow same sex couples to marry, however this has not been without controversy, and up to 180 Conservatives MPs, including some Cabinet Ministers, are expected to oppose the move.
Speaking to Leeds Student at the launch, Labour Shadow Cabinet Minister Rachel Reeves MP said:
“When I turned 18, gays and lesbians were not allowed to serve in the armed forces, we didn’t have an equal age of consent and we didn’t have civil partnerships, and a lot has been achieved during our lifetimes that we should be proud of. I hope that this week history will be made with equal marriage, and I will be walking through the Yes lobby with pride on Tuesday”.
She added that “the vast majority” of Labour MP, including the Shadow Cabinet would vote for same sex marriage, and was “confident” that the Bill would pass, despite a Conservative rebellion.
Leeds Student will be running a series of interviews with high profile members of the LGBT community throughout this month. For more information about how to get involved and events that are taking place, visit the Unions’ website and follow @LeedsLGBT on twitter.
Words: James Greenhalgh