Welcome to the LGBT History Month Page. The theme for this year's LGBT History Month is 'Geography: Mapping Our World'. Here are a few things that you might not have known about the LGBT Community. All the information below has been collected from the education and resource pack created by The Proud Trust.
Bangor University LGBTQ+ Society and members of the community have arranged an array of events throughout the month of February to celebrate LGBT History Month. All monies raised during the month through various Raffles and Events will be donated to the charity Schools Out. A list of all events organised by the society can be found here.
THE PRIDE FLAG: A BRIEF HISTORY
In 1974, Harvey Milk met Gilbert Baker. This was three years before Harvey was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors – making him the first openly gay person to hold a high public office in a major American city. Gilbert Baker was an artist, and Harvey challenged him to come up with a positive symbol for the LGBT community, which he did.
First flown in 1978 at the “Gay Freedom Parade” in San Francisco, the first Pride flags were handmade. The eight colour design represented the diversity within the LGBT community.
Later on, the pink section was removed due to scarcity of pink fabric at the time, and by 1979, the indigo section had also been removed, to make the colours split evenly. This became the six coloured flag we commonly see today:
In recognition of the BAME (Black, Asian and Minoritised Ethnicities) people that are often missing from conversations about LGBT+ people, the folks at Philadelphia Pride launched a new Pride flag in 2017 that truly represents the diversity within the LGBT community:
It is also worthy of note that the Rainbow Flag symbol is internationally used to represent the Peace Movement, as well as the International Cooperative Movement.
There are also different flags for different identities
Lesbian: A woman who is attracted to other women.
Gay: A person who is attracted to people of the same gender.
Bisexual: A person who is attracted to people of two genders, e.g. men and women or is attracted to people of their own gender, and other genders.
Pansexual: A person who is attracted to people of any gender.
Asexual: A person who experiences no, or rarely experiences, sexual attraction.
Intersex: A medical term which references a person who has biological characteristic(s) that cannot necessarily be categorised as “female” or “male”.
Trans: A person who does not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Non-Binary: A person who experiences their gender outside the binary of “woman” and “man”.
Gender Fluid: A person who experiences their gender in a nonfixed way.
Agender: A person who feels like they have no gender at all.
Demiboy: A person who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a man, boy or otherwise masculine, whatever their assigned gender at birth.
Demigirl: A person who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a woman, girl or otherwise feminine, whatever their assigned gender at birth.
Gender diversity through time and cultures
Translating as “manly-hearted women”, the Ninauposkitzipxpe were recognised as a third gender in the North Peigan tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy, Southern Alberta, Canada. This was a person that had been assigned female at birth, and although may not have dressed in “male” clothes, was otherwise unrestricted by social restraints placed on women in this society.
Upon birth, children are assigned a sex based on observation of their external genitalia. Some female assigned people, at puberty, grow a penis and testicles descend from inside their bodies. This is unusually common for people from Salinas village in the Dominican Republic, who may then choose to live their lives as a “man”, “woman” or as this third gender “guevedoche”.
For hundreds of years, Hijras have been a part of South Asian cultures. They are people who were assigned as males at birth, but who identify, and live their lives as women. During colonisation, when the British came to power in India, they passed a law in 1897, which made “cross-dressing” a crime, this resulted in many Hijras becoming ostracised from society. Many years and much lobbying later, India now has laws that recognise the Hijra as a “third gender”, and challenges discrimination against them.
Sometimes called the Dahomey Amazons, this was an all-female military regiment in the present-day Republic of Benin (Africa), which lasted until the end of the 19th century. These soldiers were rigorously trained, given uniforms, and equipped with guns. By the mid-19th century, they numbered between 1,000 and 6,000 people, about a third of the entire army. Reports noted variously that all soldiers suffered several defeats, but that the female soldiers were consistently judged to be superior to the male soldiers ineffectiveness and bravery.
Bissu, Calalai, and Calabai
The Bugi people of southern Sulawesi in Indonesia recognise three sexes (male, female and intersex) and five genders: men, women, bissu, calabai, and calalai. • Bissu are considered a "transcendent gender", either encompassing all genders or none at all. The bissu serve ritual roles in Bugi culture and are sometimes equated with priests. • Calalai are people assigned female at birth who gender identify as men. • Calabai are people assigned male at birth who gender identify as women.
Sistergirls and Brotherboys
Unique to indigenous culture in Australia, brotherboys and sistergirls are trans people who are Aboriginals or Torres Strait Islanders, and have a strong sense of their cultural identity. Within the sistergirl and brotherboy communities, a sistergirl is an individual assigned male at birth who has a female spirit and a brotherboy is an individual assigned female at birth who has a male spirit.
The third gender of ‘fa'afafine’ has always existed within Samoan society, and when translated literally means ‘in the manner of’ (fa'a) ‘woman’ (fafine). People that were assigned male at birth, but who have a strong feminine gender orientation are fa'afafine. Recognised early in childhood, Samoan parents then raise such children as girls, or third gender children. These children are fully accepted by their families and by society.
Long before Captain Cook's arrival in Hawaii, a multiple gender tradition existed among the Kanaka Maoli indigenous society. The mahu could be any sex, but taking on a gender role somewhere between, or encompassing both, the masculine and feminine. Their social role is sacred as educators of ancient traditions and rituals. The arrival of Europeans and the colonisation of Hawaii nearly eliminated the native culture, and today mahu face discrimination in a culture dominated by white European ideas of only two genders.
Nadleehi and Dilbaa
Traditionally, Navajo culture recognised four genders: • Asdzaan: feminine female • Hastiin: masculine male • Nadleehi: feminine male • Dilbaa: masculine female The nadleehi were not shunned in tribal society. Rather, they were respected for having, what was considered to be, both genders within one person. Gender fluidity, and diverse gender expression, as was recognised in First Nation People, was met with confusion by Western colonists. Early European conquerors went so far as to throw living nadleehi to their war dogs, to be torn limb from limb.
In pre-colonial Andean culture in Peru, the Incas worshipped the Chuqui Chinchay, a dual-gendered god. The quariwarmi were third-gender ritual attendants that performed sacred rituals to honour this god. The quariwarmi shamans wore androgynous clothing as "a visible sign of a third space that negotiated between the masculine and the feminine, the present and the past, the living and the dead”. The quariwarmi were deemed sodomites by the conquering Spaniards.
A tradition is still alive today in Albania, whereby people that have been assigned as female at birth live their lives as men, in order to escape a highly patriarchal system. Otherwise known as “sworn virgins”, a person becomes a burrnesha by swearing an irrevocable oath to practice celibacy. They are then allowed to live as a man and may dress in male clothes, use a male name, carry a gun, smoke, drink alcohol, take on male work, act as the head of a household, play music and sing, and sit and talk socially with men. A person can become a burrnesha at any age, either to satisfy their parents or themselves.
Among the 19th century Chuckchi of Siberia, people who were assigned male at birth but displayed “feminine” behaviour were considered to be third gender shamans. They adopted “feminine” hairstyles, then “female” clothes, and finally married men. They were hated, scorned, and also feared by the rest of the Chuckchi, as they were considered to be much more powerful than other shamans.