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Celebrating LGBT History Month

Benigna Polanco, Reporter

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October means Halloween, but for many there is something else dominating their thoughts. October is the official Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) history month.

In 1994, a Missouri high school teacher named Rodney Wilson created LGBT history month.

Wilson decided there needed to be a time to celebrate and teach LGBT history.

It garnered early support from Organisations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Defamation (GLAAD), and the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

They chose October due to it being in the school year, and this month including many notable LGBT dates.

National Coming Out Day is on October 11. This year marked the 30 anniversary.

In addition, the anniversary of 21 year old Matthew Shepard’s murder is on October 12, 1998. This murder led to the creation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.

This act provides funding for the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes.

It also “criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury (or attempting to do so with fire, firearm, or other dangerous weapon) when:

(1) the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin of any person or

(2) the crime was committed because of the actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of any person.”(The United States Department of Justice)

Basically, this Act allows lawyers to press charges against someone who tries or succeeds to hurt an individual because of their sexual orientation, race, or religion, etc. In other words, commits a hate crime.

Another notable event of October is the anniversary of the first march on Washington by LGBT in 1979, which included an estimated 200,000 attendees. This occurred on October 14.

The March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom in 1963 inspired the LGBT march, and the assassination of the county’s first gay elected official, Harvey Milk, in 1978 motivated it.

There’s also a spirit day on October 18. People around the country wear purple to show support for LGBT youth.

This is meant to be a way for people everywhere to speak out against bullying towards LGBT youth, and take part in one of the most visible anti-bullying campaigns.

Asexuality Awareness week happens on October 20 through 26 this year.

Asexuality Awareness week is an international campaign that seeks to educate people about asexuality, aromanticism, demisexuality, and grey-asexuality, and the experiences around them.

Intersex Awareness day lands on October 26, and has been around for 14 years.

Intersex Awareness day is meant to promote the education of intersex, and it takes place on the same day as the first public demonstration by intersex people in North America from 1999.

Intersex is when a person is born with characteristics from both genders.

For example, they may have male hormones, but a female reproductive system.

Though it may be a newer event, LGBT history month is a time to try learning more about the community.

In school, Alliance Club has been posting LGBT figures each day on the wall by the entrance to the English and social studies hallway.  

Take a moment to check it out. You might learn something.

Click this link for more information on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act:

https://www.justice.gov/crt/matthew-shepard-and-james-byrd-jr-hate-crimes-prevention-act-2009-0

Click this link for more information on LGBT terms:

https://lgbtrc.usc.edu/education/terminology/

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The Student News Site of Kennard-Dale High School
Celebrating LGBT History Month