LGBT+ month – ‘Behind the Lens’ 21/02/2023

February is LGBT+ month in the UK. At a time where LGBT+ is more accepted and explored in the media, this months theme is ‘Behind the Lens’, celebrating LGBT+ peoples’ behind the scenes contribution to cinema and film.

LGBTQIA+ History in media

In 1967, the UK government partially legalised same sex relations between men over the age of 21 conducted in private. Since then, people in the LGBT+ community can now legally marry, live together and/or change gender. LGBT+ people are part of the Equality Act 2010, meaning people cannot discriminate against LGBT+ employees in work for being LGBT+.

However, there were some setbacks. In Margaret Thatcher’s government, Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 was introduced, banning local authorities from ‘promoting homosexuality’ and prohibited councils from funding educational materials and projects that perceived to ‘promote homosexuality’. This was overturned in 2003, with David Cameron apologising for the act in 2009.

In media, the Hays Code prohibited films explicitly depicting queer people in the stories for more than 30 years. However, this didn’t stop filmmakers including LGBT+ characters into their story – just not explicitly. This resulted in ‘queer-coding’, where LGBT+ stereotypes and typecasting were used to hint that the character isn’t straight. Thankfully, the Hay’s Code was lifted in 1968 and there is more representation of LGBT+ people in films and TV shows.

Whilst there is much more representation in popular media of LGBT+ people, it’s not often talked about of the LGBT+ people who work behind the scenes of films, TV shows and other media. This year’s LGBT+ month’s theme is ‘behind the lens’. This blog will look at LGBT+ people who work behind the lens in media.

Influential LGBT+ people behind the lens

Lee Daniels – Director

Lee Daniels is an American director and producer, known for being the first African-American film producer to solely produce an Oscar-winning film. Lee also created the TV show ‘Empire’.

Wanda Sykes – Screenwriter and Comedienne

Wanda Sykes is an American Stand-up comedienne, who has also written her own comedy shows, as well as The Chris Rock show. Wanda was previously married to a man, but came out as a lesbian at 40. Her parents weren’t originally accepting of her new relationship, but has since reconciled with her.

Nikki de Jager – Make Up Artist

Nikki de Jager is a Dutch Youtuber with 14million subscribers. Her channel is primarily used for make up tutorials, as well as make up reviews. Nikki was blackmailed by an anonymous person about her transgender status. She instead uploaded a video confirming that she underwent her transition as a teenager.

Oscar Wilde – Playwriter

Oscar Wilde was a famous playwriter from the late nineteenth century. He dressed flamboyantly, which made him a social outcast. Homosexuality was a criminal offence at the time, and he was ousted by his secret lover’s father. He sued his lover’s father for defamation. He withdrew his accusation, but was arrested for indecency, due withdrawing his lawsuit as ‘implied guilt’. He was sentenced to two years hard labour.

College display

As part of the Equality and Diversity group, Kidderminster College students and staff created an LGBTQ+ board, looking at famous LGBT+ people’s lives who are mentioned/contributed to media. These include:

  • Alan Turing – cracked Enigma code in World War two
  • Oscar Wilde – playwriter
  • Allan Horstall – LGBT+ campaigner
  • Goronwy Rees – journalist and principle of Aberystwyth University
  • Chris Smith – first openly gay MP
  • Marsha P. Johnson – transgender activist
  • Maureen Colquhoun – first openly lesbian MP
  • Lady Phyll – LGBT+ and anti-racism campaigner
  • Gilbert Baker – LGBT+ campaigner and artist who created the flag
  • Elton John – singer songwriter
  • Justin Fashanu – first openly gay footballer
  • Edith Windsor – LGBT+ campaigner

Many of these people have been activists in their time, to ensure that LGBT+ rights are enforced. Films and documentaries have also been created to highlight their work, with Elton John even producing his own biopic.

LGBT+ on screen

Here are some recommendations of LGBT+ films for you to watch this month.

The Imitation Game – film based on the life of Alan Turing.

Rocketman – musical biopic based on Elton John’s life.

Bohemian Rhapsody – musical biopic on Freddie Mercury’s life.

Moonlight – coming of age story of a young black man coming to terms with his sexuality.

Heartstopper – tv series on Netflix exploring sexuality

Sex Education – comedy series on Netflix that explores sex education for teenagers.


For anyone wanting to get advice, or have any concerns, below are mental health charities that specifically help LGBT+ members.




The Trevor Project

Birmingham LGBT

Birmingham LGBT – Sexual Health Services

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