Happy LGBTQ+ History Month!
According to LGBTHistoryMonth.com, In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of queer history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. They selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day on October 11, occur that month.
A month dedicated to queer folks and LGBTQ+ history was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations. In 2006, Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion, and resources for LGBTQ+ History Month.
The LGBTQ+ community is the only community worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions. LGBTQ+ History Month provides role models, builds community, and makes a civil rights statement that helps many people learn and become aware about the amazing feats we as queer people have overcome.
LGBTQ+ History Month now also includes Ally Week. Students are encouraged to be allies with LGBTQ+ members and stand up against bullying. "Spirit Day" is celebrated on October 20 — in which the color purple is worn in solidarity with LGBTQ+ youth, and the death anniversary of Matthew Shepard — a 21-year-old who was murdered in a hate crime on October 12, 1998.
The month-long commemoration is mostly celebrated in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Hungary, Brazil, and the city of Berlin. The particular month of celebration varies across different countries — in the United States, Canada, and Australia, LGBTQ+ History Month is celebrated in October; in the United Kingdom and Hungary, it is celebrated in February; and in Berlin, the holiday is celebrated in June and is known as Queer History Month.
Here are some ways you can celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month!
1. Learn about queer history
Take some time out of your busy week to find one important queer historical figure to research. Learn about who they were, what they brought forth for the queer community, and how their impact affects the queer community to this day.
2. Talk to a queer friend, relative, or community member about their experiences
It's a great way to build comradery and rapport amongst those in the queer community. Make sure to ask about their experiences consensually and lend a listening ear. Most folks' experiences as queer individuals will vary, but nonetheless, are super interesting to learn about. You never know unless you walk a mile in someone else's shoes!
3. Check out a queer or LGBTQ+ event near you!
Bond with queer folks! Support queer folks! Look around your area for any special events where you can immerse yourself in queer culture. Don't have anything going on in your area? Instagram, Reddit, and YouTube are great platforms to bond with queer community members, and if you're unsure of going somewhere publicly, many organizations and queer influencers, and educators often have online and virtual events and seminars for you to partake in!
Whether you identify as queer yourself or an ally trying to support the movement, know that you can still celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month!
About the author:
Victory (they/them) is a latine trans non-binary content creator, artist, social media expert, and community healer. With several years of experience as a mentor and advocate for the queer community, Victory boasts a passion for sexual wellness, trauma-informed healing, social justice issues, and intersectional advocacy for the LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC community. In their spare time, Victory enjoys spending time outside in nature, DJ'ing, creating art, playing video games, and playing with hula hoops and fire. You can find and support their community work, art, and business at @flowingfrequency on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.