"These changes for equality have been hard won and yes, we had to fight for them"

Why do we have LGBT+ History Month in February?
Marchers at Sheffield PrideMarchers at Sheffield Pride
Marchers at Sheffield Pride

Because for so long our story has been illegal.Our role models have be forced to stay in the closet. We have died in our millions under stigma. Our talent has been suppressed.

We were refused the right to marry.Our advocates have been imprisoned. We have been tied to trucks and dragged through streets. Our existence has been denied. We have been medically castrated.But we stand today in the UK on the shoulders of individual giants and this month we them our thanks. We will give them a name, a face, and share our appreciation And we do this every year because across the world many LBGT+ communities still struggle. The persecution and misunderstandings are pushed, people are sidelined, fuelled and stoked by hatred, fear, homophobia, prejudice and erasure can thrive. Here in the UK we stand up to be counted so that when two men are publicly beaten 70 times somewhere else in the world (as happened last month in Indonesia) there is a chance that they or their friends or acquaintances hear that we are fighting for them and advocating for them and yes, loving them for who they are. And we celebrate it in the UK because these fears and hatreds are still here in homes, cities and villages, on the streets.

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Young people are still discovering who they are, older people are coming to terms with decades of denial and social pressure - and because, to take one example, until 2020 the institutions of UK did not recognise my marriage in Northern Ireland. That until seven years ago my marriage to my life partner was illegal. These changes for equality have been hard won and yes, we had to fight for them. And so yes we celebrate, yes we share, and yes we are proud.This is why LGBT+ history month matters - for these reasons and many many more, it matters.So each day of this month I will be tweeting about LGBT+ History Month via @edfordham. Ed Fordham is a Liberal Democrat councillor on Chesterfield Borough Council.