LGBT History Month
LGBT History Month is an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBT community. Currently, LGBT History Month is a month-long celebration that is specific to the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. In the United States and Canada, it is celebrated in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on 11 October. In the United Kingdom, it is observed during February, to coincide with a major celebration of the 2003 abolition of Section 28. In Berlin, It is known as Queer History Month. Other LGBT-progressive countries, however, celebrate LGBT History with much shorter events.
|LGBT History Month|
|Observed by||United States|
|Type||National, civil rights, cultural, ethnic, sexual orientation, HRC, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender|
|Significance||Celebration of LGBT history|
|Begins||February (United Kingdom)|
October (United States)
In the United StatesEdit
LGBT History Month originated in the United States, and was first celebrated in 1994. It was founded by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson. Wilson originated the idea, served as founder on the first coordinating committee, and chose October as the month of celebration. Among early supporters and members of the first coordinating committee were Kevin Jennings of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); Kevin Boyer of the 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, 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 LGBT History Month as well as other history months by resolution at its General Assembly.
October was chosen by Wilson as the month for the celebration because National Coming Out Day on 11 October, chosen to mark the date of the Second March of Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987, was already established as a widely-known event. October also commemorated the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights by LGBT people in 1979. LGBT History Month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBT.
While it was first known as Lesbian and Gay History Month, the coordinating committee soon added "bisexual" to the title. It has subsequently become known as LGBT History Month. The event has received criticism from conservative groups, such as the Concerned Women for America and others who believe it to be a form of "indoctrination."
On 2 June 2000, President Bill Clinton declared June "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month" to commemorate the June 1969 Stonewall riots in Lower Manhattan. On 1 June 2009, President Barack Obama expanded the commemoration further by declaring June Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.
In 2011, Equality Forum introduced an internal search engine for all Icons from inception in 2006 to present. By clicking on "Icon Search" and choosing one of hundreds of categories such as African-American, athlete, California, Germany, HIV/AIDS, Military, Religion, Transgender, Youth; visitors to the site will be provided with links to all Icons in that category.
In 2012, for the first time, two American school districts celebrated LGBT History Month. The Broward County school district in Florida signed a resolution in September in support of LGBT Americans, and later that year the Los Angeles school district, America's second-largest, also signed on.
In the United KingdomEdit
LGBT History Month was initiated in the UK by Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick as a Schools OUT UK project, which first took place in February 2005. The Month is an annual event in the United Kingdom taking place every February to coincide with a slower month in the schools calendar.
The event came in the wake of the abolition of Section 28 in 2003, the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 as well as the government's proposals to bring in a single equality act and a public duty, although this, in fact, did not come to fruition until 2010.
The Month is intended as a means to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against the LGBT community while celebrating its achievement and diversity and making it more visible.
The first celebration in 2005 saw the organisation of over 150 events around the UK. The second logo for the organisation behind the month was designed by LGBT typographer Tony Malone in 2006, and was reworked by him in 2007 when it then became the corporate logo for the national committee.
From that point in time, each yearly iteration of the Month started to receive its own mark designed by students of the University of the Arts and later by design students at the University of Bedfordshire.
The initiative received government backing from the deputy DfES and Equalities Minister Jacqui Smith, although some sections of the press argued against its political correctness, and pointed out that the sexuality of some historical figures is more a matter of speculation than fact. Supporters of the event countered that it is important to challenge heterosexist attitudes in society.
The DfES promised funding for LGBT History Month for the first two years to help get the event off the ground. It is now very well established and has garnered support from other sources. Long standing sponsors include the Metropolitan Police Service, the Metropolitan Police Authority, Amnesty International and the Crown Prosecution Service.
Each year, a "launch event" takes place in November, for the following Month. Those events took place in the following locations:
- 2005: Tate Modern (sponsored by Southwark Council)
- 2006: the Metropolitan Police's Empress State Building
- 2007: the TUC offered Congress House
- 2008: the main hall of the Royal Courts of Justice.
- 2009: The Urswick School
- 2010: the British Museum
- 2011: the Oval cricket ground
- 2012: Twickenham Stadium.
- 2013: Bletchley Park
- 2014: Birmingham University
- 2015: the Museum of the Order of St John
- 2016: Queens College, Cambridge
- 2017: the Museum of Liverpool
- 2019: The British Library
Through the years many speakers have spoken at the events. These include Ian McKellen, Stella Duffy, Allan Horsfall, Linda Bellos, Baroness Scotland and Barbara Follett, Michael Cashman, Stuart Milk, Phyl gyimah opuku and Rikki Beadle Blair among others.
On 5 March 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown hosted a reception at Downing Street to mark the Month.
OUTing the Past festival and the annual Alan Horsfall LectureEdit
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In 2015 saw the first edition of OUTing The Past, a festival of LGBT History spearheaded by Dr Jeff Evans. The festival started in three venues in Manchester: the LGBT Foundation, The Central Library and the Peoples History Museum. Comprising several presentations of diverse history presented by a mixture of academics, LGBT enthusiasts and activists. Sitting alongside the popular presentations was an academic conference with the inaugural Alan Horsfall Lecture given by Professor Charles Upchurch of Florida University. This is now a yearly event funded by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. Stephen M Hornby was appointed as the first National Playwright in Residence to LGBT History Month. The first production created as a result of this was a three part heritage premiere co-written with Ric Brady and performed across the weekend called "A Very Victorian Scandal" which dramatised new research about a drag ball in 1880 in Hulme.
The following year the festival expanded to six hubs around England and the conference had its own slot. The Alan Horsfall lecture was given by Professor Susan Stryker of the University of Arizona in 2016. The national heritage premieres were "Mister Stokes: The Man-Woman of Manchester" written by Abi Hynes, which told the story of Harry Stokes a Victorian trans pionner and "Devils in Human Shape" by Tom Marshman, which dramatized Georgian sodomy trials in Bristol.
In 2017, there were 18 venues round the country and by now over a hundred presentations on LGBT history had been given. The Alan Horsfall lecture was given by Diana Souhami. The national heritage premieres were "The Burnley Buggers' Ball" by Stephen M Hornby, which told the story of the first public meeting to establish an LGBT Center in the UK in 1971 at Burnley Library, and "Burnley's Lesbian Liberator" by Abi Hynes which told the story of one of the first demonstrations in support of a woman sacked for wearing a Lesbian Liberation badge by the Burnley & Pendle Bus Company in 1978.
2019 there were 18 venues including the first international events in The Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Norway and New York. The lecture was given by Dr Jeffrey Weeks in Belfast. The national heritage premiere was "The Adhesion of Love" by Stephen M Hornby, which toured to a number of venues in the North West of England. It told the story of a visit by a member of the Eagle Street College to Walt Whitman in 1891.
From 2016, Schools OUT UK has partnered with a several contract publishers to produce magazines as an Official Guide to LGBT History Month, putting 35,000 copies of their publication into every secondary school in the UK, plus community spaces, charities and businesses. The magazine had introductions from the leaders of all the main political parties and the Mayor of London. The magazine's Diversity Dashboard runs job adverts and events listings from LGBT-friendly employers and the community.
In Italy, it is celebrated in June, as a unique event together with LGBT Pride Month and is generally known as "Pride Month". This expression became popular in 2018 when the "Onda Pride" celebrations ("pride wave", a following of pride parades all over Italy during 2015 in order to ask for Civil Union Law to be approved) established as a Calendar of parades to take place every year all over Italy. In Italy, Pride Month is usually connected to love festivals, weeks of events, meetings, celebrations, conventions and so on, all regarding LGBT+ rights, universal love and fight to discrimination. During this month, Italian companies and brands are used to personalize commercials, logos, and ad campaigns with rainbow colors and LGBT pro messages.
In Berlin, it is known as Queer History Month instead of LGBT History Month. Every year it takes place in June. It is to educate and help people deal with sexual, sexual diversity, and anti-discrimination in small projects.
During Queer History Month (QHM), people are able to find detailed lessons on queer history suitable for both school and non-school education. Also, educational institutions provide education to schools and youth institutions directly.
In Greenland, LGBT history is celebrated with a Pride Parade instead of a month-long celebration. It started in 2010 when 19-year-old Nuka Bisgard and her friend Lu Berthelse, 24, another woman, teamed up with other Greenlanders to create a pride celebration. This was made to help Greenland's visible and invisible gay community feel more inclusive and united. On 15 May 2010, their hard work paid off when Pride drew over a thousand participants. Gay Pride has successfully been repeated since 2010.
In Brazil, LGBT history is celebrated during the São Paulo Gay Pride. Its events have been organized by the APOGLBT – Associacao da Parada do Orgulho de Gays, Lesbicas, Bissexuais e Travestis e Transexuais (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transvestite Pride Parade Association) since its foundation in 1999. Each year, the events are held in either May or June.
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In Sydney, in the middle of their summer, Mardi Gras has become a highly anticipated LGBT annual event. It is called the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. There is the parade in the Western World, the Bondi Beach Drag Races, a harbour party, a film festival, a Fair Day, and a series of academic and cultural discussions.
Mardi Gras was Sydney's contribution to the international gay solidarity celebrations, an event that had grown up as a result of the Stonewall riots in New York. Mardi Gras was one of a series of events by the Gay Solidarity Group to promote the forthcoming National Homosexual Conference, and offer support to San Francisco's Gay Freedom Day and its campaign against California State Senator John Brigg's attempts to stop gay rights supporters' teaching in schools. It was also intended to protest the Australian visit of homophobic[according to whom?] Festival of Light campaigner Mary Whitehouse.
LGBT History Month was celebrated in Hungary for the first time in February 2013, and since then every year. The program series is coordinated by Háttér Society and Labrisz Lesbian Association, events are organized in partnership with other LGBT organization, cultural and academic institutions, professional organizations etc. The majority of the events take place in Budapest, but a few events are also organized in larger cities all over the country, e.g. in Debrecen, Pécs, Miskolc and Szeged.
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