SFGN’s “Speak OUT” is a weekly feature giving a regular voice to South Florida LGBT leaders. This week: October is LGBT History Month. Going into this month what would you like to say to our readers about our history?
Below are some of their answers:
There is a quote by historian Lord Acton that reads, “History is not a burden on the memory but an illumination of the soul.” I think that as we begin LGBT History month it’s an opportunity for us to reflect on our history as individuals and as a movement. Our history should teach us, inspire us and give us direction as we work to make the history of generations to come.
— Denise Spivak, Director of Member Relations and External Affairs for CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
In light of the whitewashing of the new Stonewall movie, I would like to say not to forget the importance of lesbians, drag queens, and especially trans women of color, in the LGBT fight for equality.
— Atticus Ranck, Director of Transgender Services for SunServe
It's important to understand that while our history is rich and complex, it has also been erased. It's up to us as a community to record and tell our stories in ways that speak truth to power. When we learn about the people who's shoulders and bodies we stand on we must remember to look simply beyond the surface of what they have done so that we can truly understand the nature of pride being political and how rainbows came out of riots.
— Gabriel Garcia-Vera, LGBT rights activist, former, Programs & Development Coordinator at Pridelines Youth Services
History repeats itself. We must continue to support organizations and individuals fighting for our civil rights in the courts of law and use our history to educate the courts of public opinion.
— Anthony Timiraos, CEO/President, OUR Fund
Celebrating LGBT History in the month of October serves as a reminder of how LGBT activists and supporters crusaded against discrimination of homosexuality; that has led to the developing progression for equality for all, such as the U.S. legalization same-sex marriage or marriage equality on June 26th 2015. I consider it a hallmark in our history that I personally appreciate, as it has afforded me some of the liberties I relish in today. It is also serendipitous that National Coming Out Day falls on my birthday.
- Dr. Listron Mannix, HIV Testing and Outreach Manager at Pride Center
The lasting impact of history can be seen by how those in the present honor and remember it. The strength of the LGBT community and our history depends greatly upon us all to live in a way that honors the legacy of those who fought so bravely to get us to where we are at now. The struggle for equality and freedom still goes on and is now our responsibility to champion. May we do those who came before us proud and provide those who will come after us a community to inherit in which they too can take pride.
— Justin S. Flippen, J.D., Wilton Manors City Commissioner
Our history is more than the fight that started at the Stonewall. Our history dates back to the 1800s. The progress that was made was only because each generation stands on the shoulders of the fighters that came before us. We must respect that our lives are better because of the LGBT family who fought the battles. We can do so much!
— Meredith L Ockman, community activist and a director of NOW
Regarding our LGBT history, I'd say, learn it! Understand the kind of sustained efforts it took to get where we are now. Know that people were assaulted and killed fighting for the freedoms we take for granted today. And try a little compassion towards those whose struggles are different than yours.
— Noah Kitty, Rabbi and Executive Director of Congregation Etz Chaim
Did you know: Bayard Rustin, arrested several times for civil disobedience and open homosexuality, was the chief organizer behind "The Great March on Washington" which culminated in Dr. Martin Luther Kings's famous "I have a dream..." speech? #LGBTinPower
— Anthony Cedeno, marketing and communications professional
Rainbow flag trivia: Our "gay pride flag" or "LGBT rainbow flag" was designed by artist Gilbert Baker, and first flew at San Francisco Pride in June 1978. It received wide exposure at the 1979 lesbian/gay-rights March on Washington, and soon after began to be seen throughout the U.S. and in other countries. Originally made with eight colors, the rainbow flag has gone through various revisions, but since 2008 it has standardized as red (always on top or to the left), followed by orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. In 1994, for Stonewall’s 25th celebration in New York City, Baker was commissioned to create the first mile-long "world's largest rainbow flag."
— Toni Armstrong Jr., Founder/Director of BLAST Women of WPB.
Knowing our story is important Churchill said, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” Places like the Stonewall Library in Florida have more about Gerber Hart in Chicago have more about our past than anywhere else. Another good source of our story is our elders. Stop in at the Pride Center's Coffee and Conversation and talk to those who've lived queer history
— R. J. Hadley, community activist and blogger
Many years ago at a friend's dinner party, a gay man announced, "The gay movement hasn't affected my life at all." Everyone looked at me, knowing my first impulse was to leap across the table to throttle him. The stories of the brave people who struggled to create a community should be known and honored. They made even gay dinner parties possible.
— Brian McNaught, noted columnist, author and LGBT activist