LGBT History Month was started in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher. He believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history. Wilson noted that the gay and lesbian community was one of few communities worldwide that is not taught its history in at home or in school. The goal of this month is to provide role models, build connections, and make known the extraordinary national and international contributions of the LGBT community. October was selected because students are in school and existing traditions such as National Coming Out Day (October 11) occur that month.
As the month goes on, take note of the dates of the people featured. Many of these people and events might feel like they occurred long ago, but in reality they are very recent and this full, vibrant history is still forming.
LGBT History is past, present, and future. Think about ways you can support your community. Maybe it’s a donation to a local organization whose work you admire. Maybe it’s volunteering on a free weekend. And maybe it’s as simple as telling someone, “if you need to talk, I’m here to listen.” Even the smallest gestures matter when it comes to caring for your communities.
Check out the overview below for the full line up of this year’s LGBT Historical Icons: