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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 7, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 41
October is LGBT History Month
Section One
ALL STORIES
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October is LGBT History Month

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Equality Forum annually observes LGBT History Month with millions of other LGBTQ and allied folks around the world each October. However, what sets this LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus apart from other groups is the fact that the sole purpose of Equality Forum is to coordinate LGBT History Month, produce documentary films, undertake high-impact initiatives, and present the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit. That's a tall order. And yet, the organization fulfills its mission dutifully.

In particular, what Equality Forum is most known for is its annual list, '31 Days. 31 Icons.' More than just a list of names, it includes videos, images, biographies, and bibliographies for each of the named history-makers to better educate the public about our community. And it's good-quality stuff too.

Another great thing about visiting www.LGBTHistoryMonth.com is that you can find out all the information Equality Forum has amassed from past years' lists by searching the entire LGBT History Month database of 310 icons - from 2006 to 2015 - by name or by more than 150 tags (such as Academy Award, African-American, Author, Chicago, Composer, Germany, Lesbian, Politics, or Transgender).

The 2016 LGBT Icon list includes pioneering activist Virginia Apuzzo; singer and actress Josephine Baker; Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel; journalist and commentator Charles Blow; activist and government official Brian Bond; Transgender activist Chaz Bono; rock star David Bowie; US President James Buchanan; activist and author Jeanne Córdova; presidential advisor Midge Costanza; Transgender pioneer and painter Lili Elbe; Israeli Gay pioneer and scientist Uzi Even; entrepreneur Malcolm Forbes; psychiatrist John Fryer ('Dr. H. Anonymous'); poet and activist Essex Hemphill; Indian Gay pioneer and journalist Ashok Row Kavi; social activist Frances Kellor; journalist and LGBT historian Jim Kepner; Gay pioneer Kay Lahusen; playwright Terrence McNally; Transgender activist and author Janet Mock; basketball coach Sherri Murrell; long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad; pioneering activist Jean O'Leary; marriage equality hero, James Obergefell; actress Ellen Page; neurologist and author Oliver Sacks; US General Tammy Smith; DNC treasurer Andrew Tobias; immigration activist José Antonio Vargas; and biologist and AIDS activist Bruce Voeller.

Currently, Equality Forum is taking nominations for the list of icons for 2017's LGBT History Month at www.lgbthistorymonth.com/icon-selection.

'Each year 31 LGBT icons, living or dead, are selected for achievements in their field of endeavor; for their status as a national hero; or for their significant contribution to LGBT civil rights. Equality Forum solicits nominations from regional, state, national, and international organizations; activists; and the public,' Equality Forum officials say in the criteria listing on the organization's website. 'LGBT History Month co-chairs Lillian Faderman and Paul Farber review all nominations and recommend the annual Icons.'

The deadline for submissions is Friday, December 9, 2016.

LGBT History Month goes back to 1994, when Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of Gay and Lesbian history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. Together, they selected October because public schools are in session, and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (October 11), occur during that month.

Gay and Lesbian History Month was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations. In 2006 Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion, and resources for LGBT History Month.

'The LGBT community is the only community worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions,' reports Equality Forum. 'LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community, and makes the civil rights statement about our extraordinary national and international contributions.'

For more information, visit www.equalityforum.com.

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