Saturday, October 6, 2012

LGBT History Month

Image Source, edited by Diana *BunnyKissd* Bukowski

Over the past few days, we've learned about a few famous LGBT entertainers and activists, but I don't want this month to just be about the noteworthy LGBT people.  I want to include all the unknown people who have worked, in small ways and big, to make change happen for the LGBT community, and I want to include major events in our history, both good and bad.  But how to do this?  When one's history goes back nearly to 10,000 BC, where do you start?  And when so much is happening so fast recently, what do you include?

Today, I'll share the history of this commemorative month.  It was created by Rodney Wilson, who taught high school history in Missouri in the 1990s.  In 1994, after teaching a unit on the Holocaust, he came out to his students by telling them, “If I had been in Europe during World War II, they would have put this pink triangle on me and gassed me to death, because I am gay.”

Wilson believed there should be a month when gay & lesbian history was taught and celebrated.  He chose October because of the already widely-know National Coming Out Day on October 11th, as well as the first organized march on Washington, DC for Lesbian and Gay Rights on October 14, 1979.  Gay and Lesbian History Month was supported by many major human rights groups, such as GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.  In 1995 the National Education Association included it on a list of history months at its General Assembly, and in 2006 the Equality Forum started promoting LGBT History Month with content and resources.

LGBT History is the only history not taught in public schools in the US, but last July, California passed a bill that would require schools "to include a study of the role and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans, persons with disabilities, and members of other cultural groups, to the development of California and the United States." (SB48)  Regardless of laws mandating that LGBT History be taught, it is important for LGBT youth to be able to see themselves in history, to know that others like them have made important contributions to society, found love and acceptance, and have even fought for their equal rights to love and marry. Celebrating LGBT History Month does this.


Also this month:

~ October is also National Bullying Prevention Month.

~ October 10th is Unity Day; wear orange to show your support and remind others about the importance of bullying prevention.

~ October 11th is National Coming Out Day when we celebrate coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or as an ally. See the Human Rights Campaign website for resources on coming out.

~ October 19th is Spirit Day; wear purple on this day to support LGBT youth & stand up against bullying.

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