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LGBT History Month

01 February 2020

It’s LGBT History Month, and this year’s theme is ‘Poetry, Prose and Plays’, celebrating the hidden histories of LGBT literature through the ages.

Here at The Bank, we have a colleague inclusion network to champion equality, fairness and support for our LGBT colleagues, called Proud Together. Anyone can join Proud Together, you don’t have to be LGBT, just supportive of the work the network does and stands for. 

We asked some of the members of Proud Together about the literature that has inspired and moved them. You can hear their answers in full via our latest podcast below:

The following LGBT authors are being highlighted as part of LGBT History Month this year, some you may know and others less so;

Dawn Langley Pepita Simmons (c.1922 – 2000)

Before transitioning, Dawn wrote an acclaimed biography of Princess Margaret. After transitioning, she wrote a biography of eccentric actor Dame Margaret Rutherford. Though arguably most interesting, is the fact that Dawn’s marriage to John-Paul Simmons in January 1969, was the first legal interracial marriage in South Carolina, US.

Lorraine Hansberry (1930 – 1965)

A lesbian playwright who wrote ‘A Raisin in the Sun’, she also wrote the first play written by an African American woman to be staged on Broadway. The Nina Simone’s song ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black’ was inspired by Hansberry.

E.M. Forster (1879 – 1970)

A Gay author, whose most famous works are ‘A Passage To India’, ‘A Room With A View’ and ‘Maurice’. Though Forster wrote Maurice in 1913, he left instructions that it was not to be published until after he had died.

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

Some of Shakespeare’s works have been interpreted as making bisexual references. Along with plays like Twelfth Night, As You Like It, and The Merchant of Venice exploring gender-identity themes with some of the characters.

It shouldn’t be underestimated the impact some of these authors and their works have had on all parts of the LGBT community, and how they resonate across not just LGBT themes and issues, but subjects like race, class and gender.

If you’d like to find out more about LGBT History Month, you can visit the LGBT History Month site here.

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