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An underrepresented celebration in the month of October is LGBT+ History. From Oct. 1 to Oct. 31, the LGBT+ community recognizes its perseverance throughout time.

LGBT+ History month’s importance

When we go to school we learn about European history, United States history – heck, it seems like we have a history book for just about anything! However, the community that’s history never gets a lesson plan is the LGBT+ community. As stated on the LGBT History Month website, “LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community and makes the civil rights statement about our extraordinary national and international contributions.”

What many institutions fail to realize is that the strides towards equal rights within the LGBT+ community are also a fight for human rights. Moreover, October recognizes that people deserve to be treated like people. Seems simple enough, right? With that, the challenges the community has overcome and will continue to in its future are recalled in October to appreciate its resilience, strength and bravery throughout a history consumed with bigotry.

The difference between LGBT+ History month and Pride month

Pride Month, which is in June, also celebrates the LGBT+ community. With that, the question may arise, “why do we celebrate Pride month in June, but LGBT+ History month in October?”

LGBT+ History month in October gives everyone an opportunity to reflect on the history of LGBT+ community rights and acceptance throughout time. Additionally, it coincides with National Coming Out Day, which is on Oct. 11.

Coming out refers to the process that people who are LGBTQ+ go through as they work to accept their sexual orientation or gender identity and share that identity openly with other people. In a world filled with prejudicial notions, coming out is highly respected for those who feel ready to share their sexuality with others. It signifies that they are ready to embrace another part of who they are.

In the late 1960s, the Stonewall Uprising commenced, bringing attention to LGBT+ rights, specifically in New York City. Although, these protests affected the rest of history. Following raids of the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village, a gay club and safe space, riots ensued on the streets of New York City over the course of six days. This fight for equal rights was a powerful and significant mark in history for the LGBT+ community. Decades later, we recognize the Stonewall Uprising and the month of June as a derivation of Pride month.

How to celebrate and be an ally

Gladd listed ways to be an ally and a friend:

-Be a listener.

-Be open-minded.

-Be willing to talk.

-Be inclusive.

-Don’t assume.

-Note that anti-LGBT+ comments and jokes are harmful.

-Confront your own prejudices and biases, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.

-Defend your LGBT+ friends against discrimination.

-Believe that all people, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation, should be treated with dignity and respect.

As an ally, it is important to actively try and implement every listed tip.

Ultimately, the month is meant to highlight and celebrate the history and achievements of the LGBT+ community internationally. People within the community celebrate their personal feats, but allies also show their support throughout the month.

Keila is a second-year Journalism student at the University of Florida. She was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. As a true Florida native, Keila is obsessed with all things Disney. She loves reading, writing, film, glitter, the color pink, and the oxford comma (scary, we know). Keila hopes to have a career central to writing, editing, and media.
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