Each October, we celebrate LGBTQ History Month to coincide with National Coming Out Day on 11 October and to commemorate the first and second marches on Washington in 1979 and 1987 for LGBT rights. The third march, co-coordinated by Pittsburgh activist Billy Hileman, took place in April 1993.
Awareness and Visibility Periods During History Month
Lesbian Day – An annual day celebrating lesbian culture that originated in New Zealand and Australia, but is now celebrated internationally. October 8.
National Coming Out Day – A day to celebrate the act of “coming out“, i.e. when an LGBT person decides to publicly share their gender identities or sexual orientation. National Coming out Day was founded in the United States by gay rights activists Robert Eichberg and Jean O’ Leary on 1988 in Washington, DC, United States. By 1990 it was being celebrated in all 50 states. Although still named “National Coming Out Day”, it is currently observed around the world, in countries such as Canada, Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Australia also on 11 October, and in the United Kingdom on 12 October. October 11.
National Latinx HIV/AIDS Awareness Day – October 15.
National LGBT Center Awareness Day – October 19.
Ace Week – Week to promote awareness of those on the asexual spectrum. It was founded by Sara Beth Brooks in 2010. Last full week in October.
Genderfluid Visibility Week – Also referred to as Genderfluid Week, Fluid Week or Genderfluid Awareness Week. October 17-24.
Intersex Awareness Day – Celebrated in October to commemorate the first intersex protest, which took place in Boston, Massachusetts, October 26.
Pronouns Day – An annual event that seeks to make sharing, respecting and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Third Wednesday in October.
Spirit Day – Support for LGBTQ+ youth who are the victims of bullying, as well as to honor LGBTQ+ victims of bullying-related suicide. Comparable days exist in a number of other countries, including Australia (Wear it Purple Day) and the Netherlands (Purple Friday). Third Thursday in October.
You can also find a great archive published each October by the Three Rivers Community Foundation.
And then what do we do?
I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on accomplishments, successes, and triumphs of our community. As any long time reader of this blog knows, we devote a lot of time to the hardest parts of our year – the epidemic of violence targeting the trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming community. This makes the opportunity to bask in so much awareness and joy quite appealing.
It is also critical to remind people that we have endured and thrived in spite of decades of oppression – our survival is bound up in our resistance. Even the creation of some of these awareness days and periods is revolutionary such as Ace Week, Genderfluid Week, and Intersex Awareness Day. Being true to who we are enough to participate in events tied to these dates is especially impressive in the current era where everything LGBTQIA+ is demonized and weaponized.
So keep an eye on your social media feeds for relevant hashtags and take the time to learn something new or revisit something familiar. We are stronger when we take the time to lift up everyone in our community and draw attention to their visibility. Our liberation is tied up in our collective awareness.
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