Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Repost: LGBT History Month: How and Why*

* originally posted October 1, 2009

We have all sorts of months dedicated to groups or causes, everything from Black History to Breast Cancer Awareness. We even have a Gay History Month.

It's now.

October is Gay History Month.

How and why did this happen?

Well, settle in kiddies, I'm gonna give you a little lesson about some things gay....or lesbian....or bisexual....or transgender.

It all started back in January of 1994, when Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher in Missouri of all places, was dismayed about the lack of gay and lesbian history found in textbooks. Didn't gay folks do anything notable or say anything worthwhile throughout the course of history? Wilson couldn't find any evidence that gay people even existed. So he organized community leaders and teachers to educate the public about gay and lesbian historical figures and events, and soon a nation-wide grassroots network began to work on an education and celebration campaign that continues into today.

The month of October was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversaries of the first two gay and lesbian marches on Washington. The first, in October 1979, drew over 200,000 men and women, and the second, in October 1987, saw over half a million marchers and was the first public viewing of the NAMES Project AIDS Quilt. In addition, National Coming Out Day is in October, the 11th to be exact. So, if you're reading this, and you aren't out yet, or even out all the way, keep that date in mind. It makes a good jumping off point for the rest of your life.

And, now, without further ado, let's celebrate LGBT History Month.

We've always been here; we've always been queer. Get used to it.

On This Day In LGBT History

October 1, 1987 – The US Senate voted 75-23 to allow the former hospital at Presidio Army base to be used for a regional AIDS treatment facility in order to meet the projected needs of San Francisco. President Reagan said if the bill was passed by the House of Representatives, he would veto it.

October 1, 1987 – ACT-UP disrupted evangelist Pat Robertson’s formal announcement of his candidacy for the Republican nomination for US President.

October 1, 1989 – Axil & Eigil Axgil became the first gay couple to be legally married in Copenhagen, Denmark. They had been together for 40 years, 32 of which were under a common last name. Ten other couples were married the same day.

October 1, 1993 – An Ottawa court ordered the Canadian government to grant a gay federal worker spousal and bereavement benefits equal to those heterosexual employees receive.

October 1, 1993 – National Public Radio in the US announced it would offer domestic partner medical and dental benefits to employees in same-sex relationships. The policy also included unmarried heterosexual couples.

October 1, 1995 – OutRage and Lesbian Avengers picketed Sainsbury’s over funding of anti-gay religious organizations.

October 1, 1998 – Javier Cruz was executed in Texas by lethal injection for the murder of two gay men, James Ryan, 69, and Louis Neal, 71, in their home.

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