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.
“The LGBT History Month 2015 includes the first couple to file a federal lawsuit for same-sex marriage equality, world champion boxer, rock legends, first out elected official, blues singer, and Oscar winner, among the 31 Icons,” said Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum. “When LGBT History Month was launched in 2006, almost no one acknowledged LGBT History Month. Today, LGBT History Month in October is celebrated in public schools, colleges and universities, workplaces, community centers, and organizations around the globe.”
But Equality Forum isn’t the only one celebrating gay history or LGBT History Month. LGBT history has also gone high tech with smartphone apps like Quist, which showcase a piece of gay history everyday.
“Quist is approaching 20,000 downloads worldwide. In our first year we added about 100 new historical events to the database and translations into 12 world languages,” said founder Sarah Prager. “This October we'll be running a #quistorymatters campaign so watch our social media pages @quistapp.”
SFGN will be participating, along with 26 other LGBT publications around the country, in a special history project spearheaded by the Philadelphia Gay News throughout October.
Some of the special features include a profile of Playwright Robert Patrick and participant at Reminder Days, a look at San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood, and LGBT theories of JFK assassination. SFGN will contribute a piece this year to the project on the PRIDE Institute, the first LGBT substance abuse treatment center.
“As someone who was around when people first started talking about the history of the civil rights movement and I often heard people not take it seriously. The same is true for our history today,” said Mark Segal, publisher of PGN. “Many don't take it seriously, and many people don't realize what it took to get us to where we are today with our community. Simply put our history explains how we built a community where once there was none.”
In addition SFGN will feature each week three of the LGBT icons from LGBTHistoryMonth.com and other history related stories. But LGBT history is a part of SFGN every week with at least one column highlighting some of the community’s history.
“LGBT people have made significant contributions to society across all fields and centuries and have overcome incredible adversity,” Prager said. “LGBT youth should know they can do the same. I truly believe in the cause of making LGBT history more accessible to our youth.”
This year LGBTHistoryMonth.com will feature:
Richard Adams; Faisal Alam; Tallulah Bankhead; Natalie Barney; Allan Bérubé; Bernice Bing; Ivy Bottini; Lord Byron; Michael Callen; Tseng Kwong Chi; Margaret Cho; Jean Cocteau; Orlando Cruz; Lee Daniels; Stormé DeLaverie; Rudy Galindo; Darlene Garner; Glenn Greenwald; Angelina Weld Grimké; Billie Holiday; Marc Jacobs; June Jordan; Kathy Kozachenko; Armistead Maupin; CeCe McDonald; Freddie Mercury; John Cameron Mitchell; Frank Ocean; Megan Rapinoe; Lou Sullivan; and Sylvester.