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Gay icons in focus as Stort Pride celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month

Stort Pride is planning an open mic event in Bishop's Stortford to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month.

The Dog's Head in Market Square will host the event organised by Chelle Peppiatt from 6pm until 7.30pm on Saturday, February 25.

LGBTQ+ History Month is a UK-wide celebration founded in 2004 by Schools OUT co-chairs, Paul Patrick and Professor Emeritus Sue Sanders.

LGBTQ+ History Month (62189790)
LGBTQ+ History Month (62189790)

Every year, the organisation sets a different theme and for 2023, the focus is #BehindTheLens marking the community's contribution to cinema and film as directors, cinematographers, screenwriters, producers, animators, costume designers, special effects, make-up artists, lighting directors, musicians and choreographers and beyond.

This year also marks 20 years since Section 28, the law that banned the "promotion of homosexuality" in the UK, was repealed.

Chelle, who founded Stort Pride and won the Indie's 2022's Community Champion award for their work to encourage equality and inclusion, is asking other LGBTQ+ people and their families to share their experiences via email.

Chelle Peppiatt (62189853)
Chelle Peppiatt (62189853)

All stories, poems and monologues will then be read anonymously at the open mic event. Chelle said: "February is LGBTQ+ History Month and this is crucial to the LGBTQ+ community to acknowledge and celebrate. The history of LGBTQ+ people deserves to be celebrated - acknowledging the generations of pain that have been to enable us to have more freedom in the present day."

Chelle said the month was an opportunity to learn about community icons like lesbian Stormé DeLarverie, the black woman whose confrontation with police was the spark that ignited the Stonewall uprising in New York in 1969. The riots were a watershed event that galvanised the gay liberation movement.

Chelle also cited Gilbert Baker, the American artist, gay rights activist and designer of the rainbow flag which debuted back in 1978.

"The open mic night will be an event filled with motivational historical monologues, stories, and poems that reflect and express personal experiences within the history of LGBTQ+ communities. Sharing of stories and struggles that have shaped the LGBTQ+ culture and the community as we know it today. This platform will provide a voice to all LGBTQ+ people and families," they said.

Storme DeLarverie (62189953)
Storme DeLarverie (62189953)

To add your voice to the catalogue being collated by Chelle, email stortfordlgbtq@gmail.com.

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