In the US at least, October is LGBTQ+ history month (and this happens during the month of February in the UK) – and like the name suggests, it is a month long celebration of queer history. It first occurred when when Rodney Wilson, a history from Missouri proposed that LGBTQ+ history should solely focus on the queer community. The sole aim of LGBTQ+ history month is to educate those who are not in our community – or those who may be unfamiliar with – the historical side of the LGBTQ+ community. It is also a time to encourage people to be open and honest about being queer – though, like with Pride and intersectionality, I think we should be having these discussions at all times of the year, not just for one month. It’s also important to celebrate queer history this year because it is the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
It is important, for any minority group to know their history – because while celebrating our history by showing how far we’ve come is important, it is ESPECIALLY crucial to know how far we still have to go. Though if you look back at our history, it is clear that we have made massive strides in terms of gaining rights -from same-sex marriage being legalised to LGBTQ+ characters on TV and the movies improving – and like I mentioned earlier, though we’ve made progress, our fight isn’t over. So the most important reason why learning and remembering queer history is because it’s important. With events like Stonewall being the first Pride event, so it’s crucial to remember that the event was run by two (2) trans women of colour (Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera). We also need to remember all the people who came before us, so that we can continue to fight for the living.
So by teaching people about these events we can get a better look at a). how far we’ve come and b). figure out we can do to move forward. In terms of moving forward we can raise the voices of places around the world who are extremely anti-LGBTQ+ – and while we must fight for rights the rights of queer folks all around the world, I believe that it won’t always be necessary to fight for equality. This can lead to a better conversation about we can make the world a more equal and inclusive – and as a result, your activism will improve.
Finally, wherever you identify within the LGBTQ+ acronym, know that you are important and that your stories, experiences and history matter.