October is LGBT History Month which gives us all the opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and its history around the Tallahassee and right here at Florida State University. LGBT History Month began in 1994 when Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher who believed that a month should be dedicated to teaching the history of the gay and lesbian community. He organized teachers and community leaders where they picked the month of October because public schools were in session and existing traditions (such as National Coming Out Day on October 11th) already occurred during October.
Gay & Lesbian History Month was recognized and endorsed by a number of national organizations including: GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, National Education Association and others. By 2006 the Equality Forum took over the responsibility for providing content, promotion, and resources for LGBT History Month.
FSU Special Collections is currently processing the records of FSU’s Pride Student Union. The collection is part of FSU Special Collections Heritage Protocol & University Archives. This collection shows the rich history of members of the LGBTQ+ community in Tallahassee and at FSU fighting for their civil rights as members of this community and as students fighting to be recognized as a student organization by the Student Government Association.
This year has been an effective year for positive change though there’s still so much more work and education that needs to be done. So far 2015 has brought increased awareness to transgender visibility (though #KeishaJenkins has become the 18th transgender woman of color killed in the United States this year). The Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing nationwide marriage equality earlier this year. For the second time ever (EVER!) the White House held a briefing on challenges facing bisexual people.
Research shows that incorporating LGBT history into our curriculum and conversations contributes to a safer environment for LGBTQ+ students.
There are a number of events you can attend this month right here at FSU to show your support!
Now go learn some history!