Tomorrow, 1st February 2011, I'll be popping in to the offices of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in Manchester, where my colleagues and I from NHS North West will be launching a newly commissioned exhibition resource in time for the start of LGBT History Month.
As a patron of LGBT History Month and as NHS NW's Equality and Diversity team's programme manager, I'll be saying a few words to the assembled audience.
A brand new resource
The new LGBT History timeline has been funded and produced by NHS North West in partnership with the Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) and the Trans Resource and Empowerment Centre (TREC) -- who carried out most of the research.
NHS North West is the Strategic Health Authority for North West England. The North West has a population of around 6.8 million people, of whom an estimated 420,000 are LGB or T. That's a number equivalent to the entire population of a city the size of Liverpool!
The whole of England's LGBT population would equate to ten such cities, of course.
The timeline celebrates the history and achievements of LGB&T people, particularly those that have contributed to healthcare over the years, and the development of a vibrant and active community in the North West.
The timeline also documents the way in which the medical view of sexual orientation and gender identity have altered through the ages, showing the landmark decision points where changes occurred.
Key figures who are celebrated, include the gay rights campaigner Alan Horsfall, who in 1959 tabled a motion to his local Labour party in Lancashire to back the decriminalisation of homosexuality. Dr. Louisa Martindale is also celebrated, who became the first woman GP when she set up a practice in Brighton in 1906. Prominent trans campaigner Professor Stephen Whittle is also recognised for his role in trans activism and equality.
The latest in a line
The new timeline is not the first that my colleagues have produced. In 2008 the team commissioned a similar resource documenting the contributions made by Black and Minority Ethnic People to the NHS since it was founded in 1948.
The 'NHS BME Timeline' has been an overwhelming success since it was launched to mark the 60th anniversary of the NHS's foundation in the summer of 2008. We also produced an informative video and interviews and combined these into an online version of resource.
We plan to make a similar online version of the LGBT timeline as well. Filming for this is already underway. Meanwhile both timeline exhibitions, each consisting of around 20 large mounted panels, can be booked by contacting my colleague Loren Grant via firstname.lastname@example.org