October is LGBTQ+ History Month

Perri Polyviou, Art Director

As the leaves begin to turn and the air becomes crisper, I would be remiss to not discuss the importance of October to the LGBTQ+ community. October is National LGBTQ+ History Month, in which queerness is celebrated in a stand against discriminatory hate in America. Celebrated since 1994, LGBTQ+ History Month started with a small-town Missouri school teacher who wanted to celebrate gay history. Since 1994, undeniably, the world as a whole has become more accepting of LGBTQ+ people and ideas. Even in our own state of New Jersey, we can see steps being taken to be more inclusive, especially in our schools. However, there is still much progress to be made. The official website for LGBT History Month simply says, “The LGBT community is the only community worldwide that is not taught its history at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions. LGBT History Month provides role models, builds community, and makes the civil rights statement about our extraordinary national and international contributions.” I believe that New Jersey schools are working towards achieving the goal LGBT History Month sets.

It is a necessity, especially in American schools, to educate and inform youth about the contributions LGBTQ+ people have made to our society. New Jersey lawmakers and educators recognized this and passed legislation requiring “boards of education to include instruction on the political, economic, and social contributions of…  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people”. New Jersey as a whole is on the forefront of LGBTQ+ activism. It is one of only a handful of U.S. states to have fully banned conversion therapy, a traumatizing and homophobic practice to “turn” gay people straight. 

In raising awareness for the issues the community faces, we can amplify queer voices, such as my own, and allow for advancements of civil rights and equalities for LGBTQ+ people. To help raise awareness, you can visit the Gay Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)’s website, The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)’s website, and LGBT History Month’s website. Be an ally this LGBTQ+ History Month and educate yourself and others.