Monday, June 17Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

February: what to celebrate

The month of February is very much a month of celebration; the UK celebrates it as LGBTQ+ month, the Americans celebrate it as Black History Month and within all that the whole world celebrates it as the month of love. What this year’s February is not celebrating is the impeachment of Donald Trump; it is hard to feel the love in the air when he has successfully avoided the consequences of his actions. 

What we can celebrate is the fact that he was held accountable for his actions, that his pedestal is not as high anymore within the Republican party and mainly that he is no longer the President of the United States; so maybe there is still a reason to celebrate this month. Aside from Donald Trump other events need to be acknowledged and celebrated. In the UK it is officially LGBTQ+ month which was chosen as February so that it coincides with the abolishment of Section 28. Section 28 was a law passed in 1988 by the Conservative government that prevented councils and schools from “promoting the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”  This month is there to teach the younger generations about the history of gay rights and the long road that it has taken to get this far whilst also promoting a more inclusive society that will only expand through education. February is the celebration that love can be more freely celebrated in all its forms and more importantly that there is slightly less oppression and condemnation.  

Dating is hard, the many dating apps that have been created are a testament to the difficulties that come with dating. The pressure to find someone that is seen as the “perfect match” is hard enough but dating in a pandemic? Not fun. The constant in and out of lockdowns meant that spending any sort of time together has to be in a wide-open space, masks on most of the time and limited contact. Not only that but it is sporadic because sometimes there are restrictions or maybe sometimes it’s the odd time that  there are actually relaxed rules in place. All in all, it makes for a difficult relationship. Coming out the other side will be a stamp that can be added to the relationship- not only long distance for many but surviving a pandemic? That only happens every 100 years, so very much something to celebrate. 

What to celebrate for the women? The House of Commons over the years has increasingly become more and more representative of society, with women making up 50% of the population but not seeing the same reflection in the Commons. The current House is at 220 women, which is 34% of the entire makeup and it’s the largest that it has ever been, a slow yet steady increase to seeing the equality of women replicated in the government. Attorney General Suella Braverman has overcome the law that was put in place that meant women ministers were not entitled to paid maternity leave. Overlooking the fact that we are well into the 21st century and it did not occur to the members of parliament that there is a very real possibility of a minister becoming pregnant, the new law that allows this time off acknowledges that women can have their job and a family without it becoming an either/or situation. 

This February may still be in the middle of the almost yearlong pandemic but there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. Pancake day and Valentine’s day only add to the list of festivities and gradually the acquittal of Donald Trump can be pushed aside in favour of more positive news.