October marks LGBT History Month, which started in 1994 by a Missouri high school teacher, Rodney Wilson. Wilson sought out other teachers and community leaders for his effort and they chose October because school was in session and it coincided with National Coming Out Day on October 11.
Soon enough LGBT History Month was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay ad Lesbian Task Force, and the National Education Association.
In 2006 Equality Forum took over the responsibility for providing content, promotion and resources for the month, including the website LGBThistorymonth.com which features a different LGBT icon each day in October.
“Year 12 with 31 impressive 2017 Icons bringing a total of 372 Icons with resources archived on our new state of the art site, available on all devices,” said Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of the Equality Forum. “Since inception in 2006, LGBT History Month has gone from not being celebrated to celebrated in all 50 states and resources being used by the U.S. Department of Education, GSAs, colleges and universities, Fortune 500 Companies, and LGBT organizations, among many others.”
Besides the website SFGN will also be participating, along with two dozen other LGBT publications around the country, in a special history project spearheaded by the Philadelphia Gay News. PGN, as well as other LGBT news outlets, have contributed history related news stories to run throughout the month.
This year SFGN submitted two pieces to the project – one looks at whether Addison Mizner, founder of South Florida architecture, was a gay man, and the other takes a fresh look at the 1954 murder of a gay flight attendant in Miami. Both were written by SFGN freelancer Graham Brunk.
“We started the LGBT History Project to enlighten our community to our own history and how we have contributed to our country. We’ve not only written history but our research has led to noted historians embracing work and contributions,” said Mark Segal, publisher of PGN. “My personal favorite was our work on Baron Von Steuben. Before our work it had only been whispered or generally ‘thought’ he might be gay. This is important since Von Steuben was a key figure to General George Washington and it was his manual which turned the rag tag colonial army into a real fighting force. It can easily be said that with-our Von Steuben, a gay man there would be no United States.”
Check back each weekday for stories on LGBT History Month!
Previous LGBT History Month coverage: