While everyday at Back2Stonewall is about gay history. October is “officially” known in the United States as Gay History Month. Later referred to as LGBT History Month as to give the focus of inclusion to all.
The LGBT community’s history is the only community worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools or in religious institutions. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community and makes the civil rights statement about our extraordinary national and international contributions.
So lets learn a little gay history about Gay/LGBT History Month and how it came to be in October and not June when we celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
In 1994 Rodney Wilson, a gay Missouri high school teacher, believed that a month should be set aside and dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history.
Wilson chose the month of October for two reasons.
1. National Coming Out Day already was established as a widely known event,
2. October 11, and October commemorated the march on Washington in 1979.
Wilson’s students at Mehlville High School in Missouri became the real-life lesson participants in the civil rights fight when in 1994 during a showing of a film about Nazi Germany called The Holocaust, Wilson held up a poster showing emblems used to identify people in concentration camps. Wilson said to them: “If I had been in Europe during World War II, they would have put this pink triangle on me and gassed me to death, because I am gay.”
And thus Gay History Month was born.
Among the early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee were Kevin Jennings, then of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Kevin Boyer of Gerber/Hart Gay and Lesbian Library and Archives in Chicago; Paul Varnell, writer for the Windy City Times; Torey Wilson, Chicago area teacher; Johnda Boyce, women’s studies major at Columbus State University and Jessea Greenman of UC-Berkeley. Many gay and lesbian organizations supported the concept early on as did Governors William Weld of Massachusetts and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut and Mayors such as Thomas Menino of Boston and Wellington Webb of Denver, who recognized the inaugural month with official proclamations. In 1995, the National Education Association indicated support of Gay/LGBT History Month as well as other history months by resolution at its General Assembly
And now you know.
Happy Gay/LGBT History Month! And make sure to check back often to learn more about YOUR history!
Back2Stonewall.com has set up a GoFundMe page to gather funds to help expand the site to include even more history posts and to gathering oral histories of the stories from the older LGBT Americans who actually lived through events from our past and document them.
We also plan to use the funds to create an free e-book of first hand stories of surviving LGBT activists from the 1960’s. 1970’s, and 1980’s. including the remaining survivors from the Stonewall Riots whose tales have never been documented before these s
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