Among all of the students at West Chester, many are what people would consider “gay,” “lesbian,” or “transgendered.” These students are people with whom we study, participate in class activities with, work alongside, and who are also our friends. Most people do not realize what some of these students have gone through to finally let the truth be known about their sexuality. Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher, was one of the first people to organize cultural leaders and other teachers to educate the public about events that are embedded in the history of gay, transgendered and lesbian people. His desire for the public to have knowledge of gays, lesbians and transgendered people eventually led to a grassroots campaign, which educated and celebrated the history of homosexuals. Eventually this campaign deemed October as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) History month.
October was chosen to be the month of celebration of the history of gays, lesbians, trans-genders, and bisexual, due to the fact that October contains the two anniversaries of the first ever marches held for gays and lesbians. The first was in Washington during October 1979, which attracted more than 200,000 and the second was also in Washington, in October of 1987, which drew a crowd of more than 500,000 people.
Many different gay/lesbian organizations endorse the month of October as GLBT History month. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force are all different examples of the various organizations that endorse it.
The issues to be exposed during GLBT History month include marriage rights, AIDS, discrimination and domestic partner benefits. However, it is mostly to celebrate the historical figures of GLBT history that have brought the gay and lesbian community more freedom.
A big part of GLBT History month is Coming Out day, which this year took place on Oct. 11. The first Coming Out day was Oct. 11, 1988. This day is to encourage anyone who is bisexual, gay, lesbian, or transgendered to “come out” to co-workers, friends and family. The “coming out” of these individuals helps the GLBT community by letting the world know that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people are everywhere.
To find out more about the month of GLBTs, the GLBT History Month Web site offers an icon of a person for every day of the month of October. These people include gay, lesbian and transgendered icons of the gay community. Each day, the icon contains a biography of the person, free videos, downloadable images, and other resources. The Web site is htt://www.glbthistorymonth.com.
Marcelle Bacon is a third-year student majoring in French. She can be reached at MB650800@wcupa.edu.