In the USA, the month of October, annually, is designated gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer+ (GLBTQ+) history month. A time to focus attention on the accomplishments, achievements and actions of members of the GLBTQ+ communities and culture that have made a constructive and positive difference not only in the USA but also in the world around us.
The concept of GLBTQ+ history month is a recent phenomenon that is both conflicting and controversial. It is opposed by many as being a recruiting tool for a lifestyle that is objectionable based on moral, philosophical and religious reasonings. Centuries of oppression and oversight have resulted in a mainstream general society that continues to ignore a specific segment of the population that it supposedly serves.
The purpose of this post entry for ReNude Pride is to introduce and examine this topic, explain the reasoning for endorsing a GLBTQ+ history month observance and offer resources and references. Hopefully, an unknown aspect of GLBTQ+ history is acquired by all reading/visiting here.
In theory, at least, GLBTQ+ history is as old as the human race and has existed in parallel to society in general. Due to religious and social prejudices, this particular community was regularly oppressed and outlawed (illegal). On a regular basis, this population was ignored and intentionally forgotten. This predicament created a serious paucity of documentation of historical accomplishments and achievements regarding this culture.
The enthusiasm and excitement following the Stonewall Inn riots (SIR) on June 28, 1969, convinced some that documentation of events needed to happen. Too often, communities were denied essential elements of their heritage because the society in which they existed made no acknowledgment of any accomplishments of note. Of the emerging gay and lesbian populations, there came individuals who were dedicated to creating archives of what was now happening. Fledgling movements towards historical accumulation began among those witnessing firsthand the growing gay and lesbian freedom and honesty.
In order to have complete equality within our broader society, appreciation and understanding of others must be created. Knowledge must be instilled so future generations can acknowledge and comprehend diversity. This creates an environment of awareness and encourages cultural acceptance and tolerance for all groups.
This is crucial because it celebrates and honours self-affirmation and self-actualization. It strengthens individualism as it increases nonconformity and uniqueness. It promotes social progress through educating people regarding negative social conditions which existed in the past but have since improved. It also directs it is currently necessary to empower equality and development. History is basically the story of the evolution and progress of a community or a culture.
The USA observance was founded in 1994, by a Missouri high-school (secondary) history teacher named Rodney Wilson. His intent was to provide role models, build community and provide a civil rights statement of the efforts and accomplishments of the GLBTQ+ community and culture. In addition, he sought to establish a space where other educators could use as a resource for instructing youth concerning GLBTQ+ culture, history and community. He realized from his own, experience the serious lack of any available information on the historical accomplishments and contributions of this segment of the population.
Along with Rodney Wilson, the first coordinating committee for the 1994 GLBTQ+ History Month observance included Kevin Jennings of the Gay, Lesbian and Student Educators Network (GLSEN), Kevin Bayer of the Gerber/Hart of the Gay and Lesbian Archives in Chicago, Illinois, Paul Varnell, a journalist with the Windy Times also in Chicago, Torey Wilson, a Chicago area teacher, Johnda Boyce, a women’s studies major at Columbus University in Ohio, and Jessea Greenman of the University of California – Berkeley.
In the USA, GLBTQ+ History Month is endorsed/supported by GLAAD (Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association (NEA), GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Student and Educators Network) and other national organizations.
A GLBTQ+ website was launched in 2006 and is maintained by Equality Forum. Equality Forum is a national GLBTQ+ civil rights organization with a strong educational focus. In addition to GLBTQ+ History Month, it also produces documentary films, sponsors high impact social initiatives and hosts an annual GLBTQ+ civil rights conference.
The website created by the Equality Forum is linked GLBTQ+ History Month. This site features 31 honoured recipients for every year since 2006. Some of the 2022 selected ones are pictured above and all 31 are listed below on the date that they are featured. The website offers a page of information for each one. The site also contains information on ideas for discussion and activities concerning GLBTQ+ culture and history and serves as an excellent resource for educators and others seeking to inform the public about the significance of the GLBTQ+ community.
2022 Featured Recipients:
Hans Christian Anderson, Danish fairy tales author
Robina Asti, transgender rights plaintiff
Richard Avedon, prominent photographer
Ninia Baehr and Genora Dancel, marriage equality pioneers
Sue Bird, WNBA superstar
Victor Blackwell, CNN news anchor
Matt Bomer, actor
Raphael Bostic, Federal Reserve Bank CEO
Jennifer Finney Boylan, author and transgender activist
Kate Brown, Governor of State of Oregon
Nancy Carderas, Mexican writer and activist
Kitty Cone, disability rights activist
Robert Cutler, national security advisor
Andre` de Shields, actor and singer
Lea DeLaria, actor and comedian
Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, 19th century orator
Masha Gessen, Russian-American journalist
Ron Gold, gay pioneer
Radclyffe Hall, British author
Bell Hooks, author and feminist
Jazz Jennings, transgender youth activist
Mondaire Jones, first openly gay African-American congressman
Stephen Lachs, world’s first openly gay judge
Lawrence of Arabia, British military officer
Lance Loud, first openly gay reality TV star
James Merrill, Pulitzer Prize winner poet
Rudolf Nureyev, international ballet star
J. Paul Oetken, openly gay Federal judge
Amy Schneider, Jeopardy game show champion
Amy Walter, political analyst
Alice Wu, film director
Congratulations to all those above for their contributions to our community and culture. Keep with the good work!
Bare Practitioner Encouragement:
It is vitally important for all of us to remember that we are a part of our community and culture’s history. Without our experiences and memories, there would be very little of our shared lives to recount to others coming after us. Whenever possible, let others know of your chapters in our story! Bare practitioners matter!
Roger Poladopoulos/ReNude Pride
Author’s Note: The next post entry here is planned for Monday, October 3, 2022, and the proposed topic is: “Bare Icon!”