LGBTQ History Month—How You Can Celebrate
October 8, 2018
Many people aren’t aware of the great contributions LGBTQ people have made in art, science, academia, politics and religion. Being “out” has only recently become more acceptable. So, many of the most influential LGBTQ people in history have had their identities erased.
But young people can end the silence surrounding LGBTQ history by insisting that honest, inclusive stories be told. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
Create an LGBTQ Museum
Not everyone can plan a field trip to Stonewall or the National Museum for LGBT History and Culture, so the next best thing is to make your own tribute to LGBTQ culture.
Pair up with a supportive teacher, principal or your school’s gay–straight alliance (if there is one) to make an “exhibit.” This can include displaying art and paintings about LGBTQ figures, showing footage of early LGBTQ movements, providing books and literature about gender and sexual orientation through history or even making a “live museum” where students can dress up as historical figures and write and perform monologues. Participants can also make banners, posters or buttons for others to take with them.
Educate Classmates With Speakers and Presentations
Another way to promote LGBTQ identities throughout history is to bring in an expert. Host a speaker at your school with expertise or experience in the subject matter, like a poet, activist, historian or college professor.
Students can also host a screening of a film. There are movies like The Imitation Game, which highlights the work and life of Alan Turing, a gay World War II era cryptographer who helped end the Nazi reign and then was persecuted for his sexual orientation. Or, stream a documentary like Stonewall Uprising, which documents the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement in America.
Speak to Your School’s Administration About LGBTQ-Inclusive Curricula
One of the best things students can do is make LGBTQ history something that spans beyond a single day or month. Make it an everyday endeavor.
Go to a board of education meeting, or speak to an administrator, principal or supervisor. Or, speak one on one with a teacher—any little thing helps. Ask about ways to incorporate discussions of LGBTQ topics into the classroom, especially in English or history classes. Talk about LGBTQ writers or books with LGBTQ themes.
All students deserve to see themselves represented in history. Same-gender loving, trans and nonbinary people have been prominent historical figures, from the most ancient of civilizations to modern-day movers and shakers. Don’t be afraid to showcase this diversity and celebrate the lives of LGBTQ people whose work and contributions we value every day.