Amanda Sutton.pngFebruary is LGBT+ History month and this year’s theme is Body, Mind, and Spirit. History month has been celebrated every February since 2005 and has been linked to a related theme in the National Curriculum since 2011.

2005 saw the first campaign launched to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, it was also in that year that Christopher Cramp and Matthew Roche became the first couple to complete a Civil Partnership in the UK.  It wasn’t until 2013 that same sex couples were allowed to lawfully marry in England and Wales and the first taking place in March 2014 with Scotland following later that year. That’s less than 10 years ago, but what a milestone in our history.

Same sex marriage may not be the top of everyone’s agenda but an estimated 2.2% of our population identify as lesbian gay or bisexual. However, what should be on everyone’s radar - regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity - is the importance of sexual health; surprisingly still a taboo subject and the cause of giggling or even bullying within our classrooms but a very important part of our lives. 

Poor sexual health can lead to sexually transmitted infections regardless of who you choose to sleep with. Sexual wellbeing begins with education. Last year, the government changed regulations on relationship and sex education requiring to be taught at schools which must include, at secondary level, sexual orientation, gender identity and same sex relationships. Some LGBT+ members are unfortunately still subject to victimisation. LGBT history month.png

Happily though our children are more accepting and not fazed by two men holding hands, or that their school friend has two mums. So while our children can teach our society to be more understanding, we owe it to them to lead by example, maintain good sexual health, protect ourselves from infections, carry out regular self checks to breasts, testicles and genitals, attend your smear appointments and feel confident to talk openly and honestly to our health professionals and never be embarrassed to access help.

Cumbria Sexual Health provides confidential advice and support on a range of sexual health issues. They offer testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, provide free contraception including emergency contraception. The can be contacted on 01228 608989 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. They are non-judgmental and regardless of age, gender identity or sexual orientation will support and help you. 

We all wish that we could see when we will be out of this pandemic and it to become part of our history but until then, look after yourselves and I hope that you will continue to support our LGBT+ community, look out for future local events and help to support our Cumbria Pride.