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Celebrating LGBT+ History Month 2024 in Basingstoke and Deane

LGBT+ History Month takes place throughout February and this year's theme is Medicine #UnderTheScope. A month to celebrate LGBT+ people's contribution and those who pioneered in the field of medicine and healthcare, both historically and today.

We thought this month would be a great opportunity to shine the light on Sir Harold Gillies, a pioneer plastic surgeon at the forefront of new techniques, who carried out one of the first modern sex reassignment surgeries from male to female in 1951. Prior to this, Gillies was an adviser to the War Department during World War II and during the war established four units to receive casualties. He practised at one of these units in Rooksdown House, Park Prewitt, Basingstoke. During this period, he trained many doctors from Commonwealth nations in plastic surgery and developed multiple facial reconstruction techniques. Gillies retired from Rooksdown and remained an honoury consultant until it closed in 1959.

Located in Limes Park, Rooksdown is a blue plaque dedicated to Sir Harold Gillies which forms part of the Basingstoke Heritage Society blue plaque walk. A bust of Gillies is located in the Peace Garden at War Memorial Park and near the entrance to the park you can see the Pride Progress Flag flying at the Civic Offices throughout February.

If you want to learn more about LGBT+ History Month, you can visit the Basingstoke Discovery Centre to view its LGBTQ+ display. You can also find a broad selection of books about the history of LGBT+ on Borrow Box.

Willows Coffee House in Cross Street, organises LGBTQ+ coffee mornings on every second Saturday morning of each month. For more up to date information about dates and times, be sure to check their Facebook page.

Outside of the borough, see the Visit Hampshire website for more information on LGBTQ+ breaks and events in Hampshire.


There are several resources which are available all year around. Young local LGBTQ+ people can find more information on the Breakout Youth website. For more support services around Hampshire please visit Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities | Health and social care | Hampshire County Council ( You can also refer to the Hampshire LGBT+ Alliance | Hampshire County Council ( website for more information.

Five ways you can become an LGBTQ+ Ally

Listen to what LGBTQ+ people are saying. Follow LGBTQ+ people on social media and consume content created by LGBTQ+ people. Take note of what words a person uses to describe themselves and their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Avoid assumptions
Not everyone you meet is straight and/or cisgender. Avoid using gendered language where these assumptions are implied, e.g. instead of asking someone about their girlfriend/boyfriend or husband/wife, ask about their partner.

Educate yourself and stay informed
Follow LGBTQ+ topics in the news to keep up to date on the current issues for the LGBTQ+ community. Read blog posts and news articles written by LGBTQ+ people. Recognise that language evolves and be open to new concepts and ideas.

Know your own limits as an ally
Don't be afraid to admit when you don't know something. It is better to admit you don't know something than to make assumptions or say something that may be incorrect or hurtful.

Be visible in your support
If you are visibly showing your support and having conversations about LGBTQ+ inclusion, this will create an environment where more people feel safe and comfortable to be themselves.

Blog created February 2024

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