LGBTQ+ History Month 2021: Here & Now

by Jesse St. Andre

Today marks the start of LGBTQ+ History Month, a time to shine the spotlight on people and moments that have changed the course of our history.

Started in 1994 by gay high school teacher Rodney Wilson of Missouri and some of his community members, LGBTQ+ History Month was founded with the hopes of giving LGBTQ+ kids a chance Wilson never had: to learn their history and see themselves in those who came before them. October was chosen because that was where National Coming Out Day already fell.

This year, we want to shine that spotlight a little closer to the here and now. The first pride was a protest, after all - a group of individuals who realized someone needed to do something and said to themselves I am someone.

Since Stonewall, we have come a long way in the ongoing fight for equality in terms of securing our rights. However, the lengths we still have to go are sharply in focus.

We’ve never seen anything like this past year. We’re in our second year of a global pandemic. Our rights are the subject of immense legal debate. Some of our rights are at risk of being taken from us - especially from young trans athletes. At the same time, both the Olympics and the Paralympics had a record number of LGBTQ+ competitors.

This LGBTQ+ History Month, we will be focusing on the here and now - for better and for worse.

Mostly for better, though.

Through the course of the month, we will be telling stories from four specific parts of our community: LGBTQ+ stories from the pandemic, LGBTQ+ creators, LGBTQ+ athletes and QTBIPOC leaders. Each theme will have its own week in the spotlight.

We hope you’ll join us in lifting up those who are helping shape what will one day be our shared history. Most importantly, we hope you believe that you are someone, and every effort to move closer to equality matters.