October is LGBT History Month in North America. Founded in 1994, by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson, the event was intended to highlight the lack of queer issues in the education curriculum.
October was chosen by Wilson because National Coming Out Day had already been established (October 11th), and October commemorated the first march on Washington by gay activists in 1979. LGBT History Month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being queer.
Since 2006, Philidalphia-based Equality Forum has been curating lists of LGBT icons, adding 31 every year to match the number of days in October. In 2022, they are up to 496 people! Although very American in its programming, notable Canadians who have been declared icons include: k.d. lang, Irshad Manji, Elliot Page and Rufus Wainwright.
For educators, there are free downloadable images and bios of every inductee, as well as other resources to teach about queer lives and queer history.
In 2022, one of our favourite authors, Radclyffe Hall, was inducted—something we’re happy to celebrate. Our Past Matters.
I look forward to honest and open dialogue next year. I have thought for some time that there needs to be more dialogue with trans people. LGB are declarations of sexual orientation. T is not; it is a declaration related to gender which is, of course, not the same as sexual orientation. I have been fighting for trans rights for 40+ years and stood by them in solidarity. Trans people represent a very diverse community which needs our support and has, for the most part, supported us. A question came up for discussion before Calgary’s first Pride Parade – should Calgary join other cities in putting the T into the LGB acronym? Appreciate at first, in Calgary, we called it Gay and Lesbian pride day. Then came the acronym. Bs were in after discussion but some argued against the inclusion of T, especially some feminist lesbians asserting that they were different from us and couldn’t really understand us (ie: many transsexuals are not homosexuals). My vote then was they should not only be included but should be asked to lead the Pride parade given the history of Stonewall and the fact that transgendered and transsexual people were the first to hit the frontline.
For the last 10 years, I find myself continually coming up against some trans men who’s agenda I can not support as a feminist lesbian. Their voices are getting louder and stronger to the point I think lesbian voices are being marginalized and silenced. Forcing the use of pronouns in the workplace, for example. I fully respect trans people’s right to use pronouns and have them respected. I do not choose to use pronouns. That is my choice to make. To explain why, I’ve spent my whole life being mistaken for a straight chick so I do not want to be lumped in with them in by using the same she/her pronouns. I am very different and I, too, was born this way. This has been problematic historically for many cis gendered lesbians who could “pass” – we were hit on by straight men to the point where the only thing they seemed to understand was us coming out and saying “I’m a lesbian”. I have been out and proud for 40+ years. My response to the request I provide my pronouns is to say “call me by my name” with no disrespect intended towards trans people. This has been met with being called everything from transphobic quite often by trans men and being told to “sit my pasty white cisgendered ass” down on professional networking sites by racially marginalized trans men (who it is safe to assume are likely hopped up on testerone). I have been called transphobic by trans men just for being a cisgendered lesbian. Which is about as ridiculous as me calling straight chicks homophobic because they don’t want to have sex with me. I have found some trans men to be the worst misogynists I’ve met in a long time (ie: “bois” and boi culture). I no longer wish to be associated with the LGBTQ community. I will not belong to communities where lesbian voices are diminished and women are disrespected. I definitely do not want to participate in another Pride parade. I know other lesbians who feel the same way. I especially worry about lesbian youth who are vulnerable getting hit with this kind of toxicity. So until this is talked about in the community, please take the L out of LGBTQ for me.