In a world where 140 characters can break the news of your robbing of basic rights, and seemingly every news update awakens us to yet another tragedy that could have been prevented with the proper legislation, it is important to take advantage of the days and months of commemoration and recognition that we are given. While LGBT History Month (notable differentiation from June’s LGBT Pride Month) should undoubtedly be every month (as should every marginalized group’s allocated month of recognition), October’s welcoming embrace of leaves changing colors and warmer temperatures dropping steadily should hold as a reminder for all of us to embrace the entire rainbow of spectrums that the LGBT community continues to provide us with, and to keep ourselves warm and comfortable embracing all that is seemingly different.
For 23 years, LGBT History Month has served as a month-long celebration to commemorate the people who serve as role-models for today’s community; the chance for folks to empower themselves to truly take part in a community that expands far beyond the limits of Pine & Chestnut Streets. Events reach across the entire city’s limits, from discussions to information sessions to galas, this month-long appreciation leaves no excuse for ignorance. Many, if not all, of the events are open to the public, and most come at no price (or a pay-as-you-go option).
Rodney Wilson, a high-school teacher in Missouri, first proposed LGBT History Month with the intention that it would be performed by teachers, educators, and community leaders. As LGBT culture and history is neither taught in schools nor inherited via family get-togethers or reunions, schools and community centers are pivotal educational hubs. While the current state of the nation is undoubtedly not something to be proud of, the history of the LGBT community that fought for recognition and rights is something to be celebrated and taught.
It is crucial to teach LGBT history in educational settings for numerous reasons. It gives LGBT youth role models. Especially at a young age, but also adults, it is important for members of the LGBT community to recognize that there are important, noteworthy, historical people like them to look up to. Being aware of these people is validation in a setting that probably does not support them as they need (such as a secondary, or even primary school setting). It sets a place in history for where we came from, and helps to forge a path for where we are going. While Wilson’s original vision has blossomed into something undeniably remarkable, we must continue to honor his original intent by sharing the histories we are not taught and the stories we are not told.
While October is past the midway mark, there are still tons of events to attend, and days to participate in to celebrate LGBT history! The education and celebration of the LGBT community should not be confined to one month out of the year, even if it is one of the more colorful months.
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