LGBTQ+ History Month is in October and each year we mark it with spectacular events celebrating the history and achievements of the LGBTQ+ community. When the observance was started, it mainly served as a call to action for the movement and its prosperity. But over the years, LGBTQ+ History Month has evolved into a national collaborative effort to bring extraordinary figures from the LGBTQ+ community into the spotlight.
LGBTQ+ History Month is a month-long celebration of the history of the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community and the importance of civil rights movements in progressing gay rights. The observance was created by Rodney Wilson, a history teacher at a Missouri high school, in 1994. The following year, LGBTQ+ History Month was added to the list of commemorative months in a resolution forwarded by the General Assembly of the National Education Association. October was chosen as the month of observance as National Coming Out Day already existed as a holiday on October 11. Also, the anniversary of the first march for gay rights in Washington took place on October 14, 1979.
LGBTQ+ History Month now also includes Ally Week — during which students are encouraged to be allies with LGBTQ members and stand up against bullying, Spirit Day on October 20 — on 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.
LGBTQ+ History Month allows the opportunity to extensively learn about the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, and what factors and measures will be successful in building communities and providing role models who will best represent and address the issues of the LGBTQ+ community.
The month-long commemoration is most prominently 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.
5 Iconic LGBTQ+ Figures in History
1. Alan Turing
Alan Turing played a significant role in defeating Germany in WWII because he cracked the mathematical Enigma code — he was also arrested for being homosexual, which was a crime in Britain in 1952, but he was pardoned in 2017 and was cleared of all charges (and this lead to the Alan Turing Law).
2. Oscar Wilde
You know him as one of the most famous playwrights in history, but Oscar Wilde was also outed as homosexual after the details of his affair with an aristocrat were publicly sensationalized.
3. Marsha P. Johnson
Marsha P. Johnson was an African American transgender-rights activist who made a huge impact on the progression of the LGBTQ+ cause with her work in the 1960s and 1970s.
4. Allan Horsfall
Also known as the grandfather of the gay rights movement, Allan Horsfall fearlessly identified as gay and openly campaigned for homosexuals at a time when it was explicitly illegal.
5. Edith Windsor
Edith Windsor’s case against the judicial system in America was the first time same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S.
The purpose of LGBTQ+ History Month is to learn as much as we can about the history, movement, and historical LGBTQ+ figures. Elimination of the violence and unjustified hate towards the community can only be done by educating everyone about it.