Throughout February, Sussex celebrated the 19th year of the UK’s LGBTQ+ history month in both traditional and new ways. 

Sussex-wide celebrations commenced with an online conversation with activist and author of Bisexual Men Exist Vanheet Mehta on 1 February.  The festivities continued on 12 Feb with a panel on LGBTQA+ inclusivity in sport in the debating chamber and sexuality themed pub quiz in Falmer Bar. The LGBTQ+ society screened the queer modern classic Pride in Jubilee on 22 February, commemorating British histories of gay activism. Throughout the month, the Students’ Union also celebrated local LGBTQ+ histories on their Instagram, posting profiles of alumni from across the spectrum, including climate justice activist – and ex-SU President – Dan Glass and poet Dean Atta.

29 February, the day of Sussex Pride, saw a lot of rain and even some hail across the county. Luckily, the Sussex Pride Fair was held in the warmth of Falmer House Common Room, where a range of societies held stalls celebrating the month and our University’s wider queer culture. The common room was adorned in handmade pride decor, showcasing student creativity and passion.

The Badger held a stall, together with Sussex’s magazine The Channel, asking students and staff “What does being queer at Sussex/Brighton mean to you?”. The fair also boasted a zine-making workshop, ‘paint your gender’ activity, and a queer bookshelf where attendees were invited to decorate blank rainbow book spines with their favourite LGBTQ+ titles. Favourites included Jeanette Winterston’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit’ and The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan. The atmosphere was warm and joyful, despite the adverse conditions outside.

The celebrations were rounded off with the traditional march from Falmer House across campus, during which attendees braved the wind and rain with placards, loud speakers and pride flags. Next year will mark two decades of LGBTQ+ history month observance in the UK, and Sussex students are sure to celebrate it fully and powerfully once more – although hopefully in better weather! 

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