Quiz questions and Queen, ribbons and rainbow bracelets: QE’s colourful LGBT History Month

Quiz questions and Queen, ribbons and rainbow bracelets: QE’s colourful LGBT History Month

QE marked February as LGBT History Month with a series of special assemblies and other events designed to raise awareness of the issues.

2023’s School Captain, Darren Lee, led the way in a competition to design computer desktops with his winning images of two American icons of LGBT rights, tennis legend Billie Jean King and ‘first trans celebrity’ Christine Jorgensen.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are proud as a School to promote equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and I congratulate all those who have been involved in celebrating LGBT History Month.

“Of course, this is not only about one month in the year: it is important that all our students develop an understanding of society around them and the histories and experiences that have shaped culture, politics, and the law.

“To this end, we are in the process of auditing our curriculum across the whole School to assess how it is aligned with our vision for a broad, balanced and inclusive curriculum. This involves ensuring that diversity is celebrated and that there is positive representation.”

The month included assemblies delivered by the charity Just Like Us, with its ambassadors delivering separate, age-appropriate talks to Years 7–9 and to Years 10–12 about growing up queer, covering topics such as faith & sexuality, gender identity and coming out.

Last year several pupils joined forces with those from Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School as part of the QE Together partnership to take part in a national advertising campaign with Just Like Us.

Other activities during the month included:

  • Wearing rainbow ribbons on blazers; these were distributed free by prefects
  • Watching the film Bohemian Rhapsody, a musical focusing on the life of Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, in the Main Hall
  • Making rainbow-beaded bracelets
  • Participating in the LGBT History Month Quiz on the last day of the month.

Having recruited 27 pupils from Years 9–11 as Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Ambassadors to support the two assigned Year 12 Vice-Captains with their leadership of this important aspect of School life, QE is embedding pupil leadership lower down the School and facilitating succession-planning. The ambassadors are split into sub-teams working on different areas of provision: events; pastoral resources; and the Perspective forum on the eQE network.

The EDI Ambassadors’ Club has been established and now meets fortnightly. This is open to pupils in Years 9–12 and is engaging pupils in active promotion of EDI at QE. It covers a wide range of issues and seeks to create a team culture of mutual support.

Other people covered in entries to the computer desktop design competition besides Billie Jean King and Christine Jorgensen included American gay rights activists Harvey Milk and Bayard Rustin. A more abstract design by Year 9’s Akshay Shah, featuring all the colours of the rainbow, was also among the front-runners (pictured top). The winning designs were displayed on desktop computers around the School.