October focuses on LGBTQ+ history

Emma Decker, Staff writer

October is a busy month for many. Fall decorating, preparing for Halloween, raking leaves, the list goes on and on. What isn’t commonly known is that October is LGBTQ+ History Month. Differing from June, which is Pride Month, October focuses on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and closely related civil rights. 

October was declared LGBTQ+ History Month in 1994 when a teacher from Missouri named Rodney Wilson openly came out as gay. Facing backlash from students and staff, Wilson used this opportunity to educate individuals in the school about the LGBTQ+ community. The month never got as much traction as June did, but the importance still remains. 

The month holds two very important dates: October 11, which is National Coming Out Day; and October 14, which is the anniversary of the first LGBTQ+ March on Washington. 

National Coming Out Day, October 11, is one of the most significant days for the community. This is a day where those in the community are far more likely to come out with confidence. Thousands of people each year use this day to their advantage. 

October 14 is a day in history many will never forget. In 1979, an estimated 75,000 to 125,000 lesbians and gay men from across the states joined together to march through Washington to bring attention to gay culture and politics. 

Other notable mentions include a newly added spirit day on October 20, where people are encouraged to wear purple in support of LGBTQ+ youth. Ally Week is where allies of the community come together to show support and stand against homophobia. The anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder on October 12, sparked the infamous Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act.

October is full of festive activities and fall weather that everyone adores, so it may be easy to forget important history like this, especially if it doesn’t directly concern someone. As a way of showing respect and support for the LGBTQ+ community, looking into some of the history that surrounds the group is a great start.