Looking after your body, mind and spirit this LGBT+ History Month

10 February 2021

This LGBT+ History Month, Students’ Union UCL LGBQ+ Officer Jemima Barnes has written about this year’s theme, Body, Mind and Spirit. She shares with us the importance of this month and how you can look after yourself and feel part of the LGBTQ+ community, even in the pandemic.

Rainbow flags fly through the air

LGBT+ History Month has been recognised in the UK since 2005. In the 16 years since then we have celebrated the stories, events and people who have had their histories erased over the centuries. The month gives an opportunity to recognise our past and envision and campaign for a brighter future and celebrate all of our queer joy today.

This LGBT+ History Month’s theme is “Body, Mind and Spirit”, three things that are vitally important to nurture and look after whilst living through this pandemic. Very often, LGBTQ+ people are reliant on spaces and events outside of their family homes, or their circle of friends, to be truly themselves. Having LGBTQ+ specific spaces offer a chance to celebrate being ourselves away from societal pressure to conform to cisgender and/or heteronormative ideals.

The usual in-person bar trips, coffee socials and meetups are no longer an option during the pandemic. People may feel isolated away from their queer communities, and unsure about how to stay connected, especially if they do not feel safe to join in with online events in their current living arrangements. Continuing to feel connected to the LGBTQ+ community is so important in ensuring we look after our bodies, minds and spirits, so I have outlined a few ways to keep that much-needed connection going below.

Social Media

Although often reported as detrimental to your mental health if you spend too much time on it, social media is a great way to engage with the queer community without outing yourself to family or friends, as well as being a great way to get some queer content into your life!

People like @hellomynameiswednesday, @munroebergdorf, @jamie_windust, @radamridwan and @dis.__.grace are all joyful and informative places to start. TikTok searches for #lgbtq also provide hours upon hours of content to help you feel part of the wider LGBTQ+ community.


If you’re able to safely read LGBTQ+ themed books whilst at home, I would definitely recommend doing so. Reading helps you to unwind, escape and reduce some of that screen time that we’re all getting too much of whilst studying online! Some of my favourites are: Queer Intentions by Amelia Abraham, Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown and In Their Shoes by Jamie Windust. Support local, independent bookshops by going through Gay’s the Word or Bookshop.org.


We all know that exercise and looking after our physical health is important. The LGBT+ Network are running various exercise sessions, which you can find on our social media accounts. On top of that, @lgbtq.workouts are providing inclusive online workouts, and when allowed again, they will have affordable workout groups in Regents Park, very near campus!


When we’re able to start meeting new people and socialising a little more I would encourage you to join in with the LGBT+ Network’s in-person events, and in the meantime, we have loads of online events which are viewable on our social media. We’re @UCLLGBT on Facebook and Instagram. The LGBTQ+ community at UCL is so open and welcoming, and it has been a joy to meet people during my time here

If you want more things to get involved in, we also have the historic Gay’s the Word Bookshop on UCL’s doorstep, in Bloomsbury. They have a whole host of reading groups and meetings and it’s also a great place to stop by between lectures when we’re on campus again.

Hopefully all of the above have provided you with some things to do and to think about whilst celebrating LGBT+ History Month. If you have some LGBTQ+ specific questions or concerns, I recommend reaching out to Switchboard, the LGBT+ Helpline and chat open 10am-10pm daily, or Mind Out, the UK’s LGBTQ+ mental health charity who have online support throughout the week for various groups.

Lastly, enjoy this month, keep in contact with your friends and remember that the LGBT+ Network is here if you need us!

Jemima Barnes, Students’ Union UCL LGBQ+ Officer