Is LGBT History Month all about big events?
'Events' are the most common method of marking LGBT History Month. They don't have to be 'big' and they come in many different formats – from a small group of friends coming together to celebrate and remember the lives of LGBT people, or film screenings and exhibitions, to a full-blown carnival. You may also generate a new 'event' idea, recognising the needs of the LGBT community in your country or your target audience.
How do we make an event as safe as possible?
It is important to carry out a risk assessment for any event. This doesn't have to be a large paper exercise but you need to consider what the risks might be to participants and what measures you can take to ensure that everyone is safe or as safe as they can be. This process often focuses on trips and falls or medical conditions such as allergies, however you should also consider the potential risk of prejudice-based reactions from individuals or groups. The likelihood of this occurring will differ in each EU member state and may fluctuate depending on the cultural and political environment of the time. If you believe this is a potential risk, no matter how small, then make links with your local police service to encourage them to attend the event and/or ask them about the best course of action should an incident occur. In addition to their response, you should also consider your own emergency procedures and think about how to gain wider support.
What if we don’t have any money?
Resources tend to be limited for everyone and it's amazing how imaginative people can be when they are stuck for cash. Firstly, identify who your partners or supporters might be as there's always strength in numbers and resources you can share. Local businesses and venues may also be willing to support the event; it may be worthwhile for them to promote their products to a new clientele or perhaps they are supportive of the cause. You may find that you manage to secure a lot of support (financial or in-kind) once you start asking.
Is LGBT History Month about famous LGBT people?
It's always great to discuss people who have been in the media, engage with them and secure their support if possible but the visibility of LGBT people can differ within each member state. In any case, LGBT History Month is all about finding out about the lives of everyday people. Famous people's lives may be more public; they're not necessarily more interesting!
Depending on your event, you might want to invite someone with influence (i.e. local or national government). They can be a supporter of LGBT people rather than a LGBT public figure. This can send a strong message that those in power support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Should the wider public be encouraged to attend LGBT History Month events?
This depends on your target audience. Decide if your event is for the LGBT community or for the wider public, then plan your promotion and issue your invites accordingly. Always consider the safety of those attending and ensure everyone feels welcome regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. When you hold events for the LGBT community with straight allies attending to support a friend or the cause, make sure they feel welcome too. Remember the ethos of LGBT History Month is one of inclusion.