Monday, October 6, 2008

October is LGBT History Month

This month we celebrate as a nation the contributions gay folks have made throughout history. Take a look at this year's honorees ....

LGBT history month icon

In case you haven't heard, October is GLBT History Month.

Like Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March, the purpose of GLBT History Month is to celebrate and highlight the achievements of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals in history. Hopping on the bandwagon of these other subcultural history months, this month helps to increase awareness of and education on LGBT folks who have influenced our culture and affected our world. Gay folks still tend to be omitted when it comes to popular, public history, and this month tries to correct that oversight and fill the void.

This month was established back in the 1990s, and October was selected since this is when National Coming Out Day occurs. GLBT History Month is supported by the usual suspects of national gay groups, i.e, HRC, GLAAD, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, but back in 1995 it also got the support of the National Education Association (NEA), giving it good mainstream credibility.

Go to for more details – every day of the month will feature a single LGBT person with a video, pictures, bio, bibliographies, and other resources.

[As a sidenote on style, while the official designation of the month is “GLBT,” Equality NC uses “LGBT” as the inclusive acronym for our community.]

Here are the LGBT icons who have been featured the first week of GLBT History Month:

1. Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon -- Gay rights advocates, longtime partners, and the first couple legally married in California. Martin died this past August.

2. Stephen Sondheim – Multiple (Tony, Oscar, and Pulitzer) prize-winning composer and lyricist.

3. Gianni Versace – World-renown fashion designer.

4. Sheila Kuehl -- The first openly-gay person elected to the California legislature. She played Zelda in the old TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

5. Tennessee Williams – Playwright and author of such works as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and A Streetcar Named Desire.

6. Alice Walker – Pulitzer-prize winning writer (won for The Color Purple).

7. Greg Louganis – HIV+ diver who won a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.

-T. Shawn Long

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