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Revisiting history gives courage to LGBT+ community

February is LGBT History Month in the UK. What does the event mean for LGBT+ people living in Cardiff?

Willoughby Zimmerman (in bright orange vest) and the participants gathered under the wall of the castle.

It was a rainy and windy Saturday. Thousands of people flowed to Cardiff city center and triumphed for the rugby game. But opposite to the bustling block, a few people were holding their bikes and about to discover the sites celebrating LGBT+ pride.  

February is the LGBT+ history month in the UK. Inspired by that, Cardiff people cycled through the places witnessing early LGBT+ rights movements.“The riding could be beneficial for LGBTQIA people, it’s an opportunity to hang out and make friends,” Willoughby Zimmerman, the event organizer said. 

“Especially for people that experienced a lot of bullying and discrimination, when they find that supportive atmosphere in a group, they build their confidence and then ride more and more.”

Willoughby Zimmerman has held several times of LGBT+ community riding.

Four sites were included in the tour, the very first gay bar in Cardiff, the statue of the famous gay composer and actor Ivor Novello, the first pride march place in 1985, Channel View leisure centre which is the rare place where the lesbian dancers were accepted in the 1980s.

Holding this kind of riding events for LGBT history month is very meaningful to Willoughby, even though it is time-consuming to prepare the cycling routes. These historical sites in Cardiff may bring a sense of belonging and pride to the members who are facing difficulties.

Rose(left), Onyx Korn (middle) Laura(right) are heading to the historical sites.

She confessed that she faced discrimination in her younger age and cycling helped her to survive from the unpleasant time. “The reason I chose cycling is that it really helped me to build my confidence as a person and make friends and get out of my house under the shell and really build myself. The people from marginalized backgrounds need access to personal ability, specifically cycling.”

She is not the only person who struggles with mental problems in LGBT group. “It ’s easy to feel alone in a crowd, and that’s never been truer for me than when I first came to university,” says Clarie, who is a student in Cardiff University, also admits she had difficulties with identifying herself, “In a lecture hall of hundreds, and a student population of thousands, its often overwhelming, and hard to know where we fit in.”

Participants visited the statue of Ivor Novello outside the Peirhead building. credit:Willoughby Zimmerman

Willoughby believes that more community social events could be the cure of these problems. Communication with the community may bring every participant strength to build a strong mind, and history stories may arouse their courage within their hearts.

Clarie held the similar thoughts with Willoughby, so she published her story on the university website to encourage others. “This LGBT+ History Month, it’s as important to remember the hard times we have overcome, as it is to celebrate all that we are proud of. Being our authentic selves is hard due to the challenges we still face, but it’s also as easy as breathing. Once we learn to accept and love ourselves, nothing in the past, the present, or the future can hold us back,

“I wish you all the courage and pride in the world, and remember your community will always have your back.”


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