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IMPORTANT DAYS
 

List of LGBTQ Awareness Days

Stonewall Riots

LGBTQ History Month
Wikipedia: National Coming Out Day

Rainbow Babies: LGBTQ Holidays & Observances


Important LGBTQ Events

 

Stonewall Riots – June 28, 1969

Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in the US – June 26, 2015

Pulse Nightclub Shooting - June 12, 2016

Harvey Milk Day (Harvey Milk’s Birthday) – May 22

 

 

LGBTQ Holidays and Observances

 

Holidays and cultural observances bring people together for both celebration and reflection. Throughout the year, the LGBTQ community unites in pride and in protest, in recognition of a rich heritage and in hope for the future.

 

 

LGBTQ Pride Month – June

 

LGBTQ Pride Month is a cultural expression that has grown and evolved and continues to do so.  Now in large part celebratory, the observance has its roots in both pride and protest. The initial events in the development of Pride Month were commemorations of the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots of June 28, 1969. In New York, a few hundred gay men and lesbians marched from Washington Square to Central Park for a “Gay-In” demonstration. As they progressed, they attracted more and more participants. The number variously estimated at from 5,000 to 15,000, making it the largest gay power demonstration as of that time. The anniversary of Stonewall was also observed with a march in Los Angeles and rallies in San Francisco and Chicago.

 

 

National Coming out Day – October 1

 

Inspired by the success of the March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights on October 11, 1987, Jean O’Leary, then Executive Director of the National Gay & Lesbian Rights Advocates, joined with Rob Eichberg to create an event that would increase the visibility of LGBTQ people and encourage those previously silent to make their voices heard. On the first anniversary of the march, they launched National Coming Out Day. CNN and National Public Radio reported on events held in eighteen states, and the Oprah Winfrey Show also took note of the celebrations of pride.

 

The idea of National Coming Out Day did not find favor with everyone in the LGBTQ community at first since there was some fear that it might compromise individuals’ privacy. Outing people, however, was not the intent; rather, National Coming Out Day offered LGBTQ people the opportunity to choose to be identified with the community and to make a commitment to the goal of achieving equal rights. The symbol of National Coming Out Day, Keith Haring’s image of a person joyously bursting from a closet, underscores the individual nature of this step, fosters solidarity among those who have made it, and offers hope to those who, for whatever reason, have not yet been able to kick open the door. National Coming Out Day has become a joyous occasion, particularly on college campuses, where young people are able to discover community and support.

 

Wikipedia: National Coming Out Day

About Gay Life: National Coming Out Day
What You Need to Know About Natl Coming Out Day
Celebrating National Coming Out Day
Why National Coming Out Day Matters

The Universal Experience of Coming Out

 

 

World AIDS Day – December 1

 

To call attention to and mobilize support for the fight against the ongoing scourge of HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS) observed the first World AIDS Day on December 1, 1988. In 2005 the task of administering the project was transferred to the independent organization The World AIDS Campaign. Given the widespread impact of the disease, much of the attention is on people who have contracted the virus by means other than same-sex sexual contact. Nevertheless, World AIDS Day remains significant to LGBTQ people because of the devastating losses in the gay community due to HIV/AIDS.

 

World AIDS Day

What is World AIDS Day?

CDC: World AIDS Day

 

 

LGBTQ History Month – October

 

Rodney Wilson, a history teacher in a suburban St. Louis, Missouri high school, understood the difficulties of LGBTQ students picked on and bullied by their classmates since he had been their advocate when they turned to him in their distress. He was also troubled by the lack of acknowledgment of the homosexuality of prominent men and women who have made significant contributions to history. In response to these problems, he set about to establish a teaching initiative through which the achievements of LGBTQ people would be recognized. His stated goals were to “fight for the right of every child in every school in America to be safe from fear and intimidation, fight for the right of every teacher in every school in America to be free to live openly and honestly without fear of job loss, and fight for the right to have accurate information about lesbians and gays included in the textbooks and curricula of every school.” 

 

Wilson proposed October as LGBTQ History Month because it was during the school year and included National Coming Out Day. National organizations such as Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the HRC, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the National Education Association were quick to lend support. In 2006 the Equality Forum took over the task of coordinating the project and launched an LGBTQ History Month web site. Each year the site features famous LGBTQ people who have made significant social, political, or artistic contributions.

 

LGBTQ History Month

Wikipedia: LGBT History Month

 

 

National Day of Silence – April 19

 

The genesis of the Day of Silence, held annually in late April, was a class project at the University of Virginia in 1996. Assigned to create a non-violent protest event, students devised the Day of Silence to call attention to the situation of LGBTQ youth who are silent about their sexual orientation because of fear of harassment from classmates and lack of support from instructors and administrators. The organizers were able to secure the participation of more than 150 students who carried signs explaining the reason for their silence. The student organizers recognized the value of their endeavor and reached out to other colleges across the country, receiving an extremely favorable response. In 1997 the Day of Silence was observed at almost one hundred colleges and universities.

 

In 2001 the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) took over the job of organizing the Day of Silence nationwide and expanding it to include students at high schools and middle schools. The need for awareness of the problems of LGBTQ teens is particularly acute. A survey conducted by GLSEN in 2005 revealed that eighty percent of LGBTQ students had suffered harassment at school and that over thirty percent had absented themselves for at least a day because of fear for their own safety. Various accommodations are made for the Day of Silence. In some schools, students remain silent all day. In others, they participate in class but maintain silence during lunch hours. Students continue the practice of carrying cards explaining why they are not speaking. At the end of the school day, many institutions hold a “Breaking the Silence” event at which participants and others have the opportunity to reflect on their experiences. LGBTQ students can express themselves in a safe environment, and potential allies can ask questions and learn valuable lessons about the terrible harm caused by prejudice, harassment, and bullying. In 2008, some 5,400 middle schools and high schools and approximately a thousand colleges and universities participated in the Day of Silence to educate their communities about the ongoing struggle for equal rights.

 

Wikipedia: Day of Silence

 

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) – November 20

 

The Transgender Day of Remembrance, held in November, memorializes those who have been killed as a result of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event began in 1998 to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28, 1998 inspired the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed in dozens of cities and at numerous colleges and universities. The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves to raise public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, while also honoring the lives of individuals who might otherwise be forgotten.

 

International Transgender Day of Remembrance

 

 

Other Important LGBTQ Days

 

Celebrate Bisexuality Day – September 23

Lesbian Visibility Day – April 26

Intersex Awareness Day – October 26

International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHOT) – May 17

Spirit Day – October 20

Pansexual Pride Day – December 8

 


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