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News - October 1996

October is Lesbian & Gay History Month

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announces October is "Lesbian & Gay History Month: A Celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History." The third annual event commemorates a global gay legacy too often ignored. Throughout the month, nationwide observances will honor the lesbian and gay historical figures and events that helped shape the modern world.

During Lesbian & Gay History Month, the lesbian and gay community examines its vast cultural achievements, collective creativity and its political struggle for equality. By telling the untold stories of gay men and lesbians throughout time, Lesbian & Gay History Month creates a more honest and complete understanding of history. The gay family tree is a who's who of the world's most celebrated scientists, artists, philosophers, musicians and authors. From poet Walt Whitman to writer James Baldwin, and from Broadway's Cole Porter to chanteuse k.d. lang, gay men and lesbians have enriched the American landscape and the lives of people worldwide.

"Reclaiming our history corrects the false perception of what was, and creates new possibilities for what will be," said William Waybourn, GLAAD's managing director. "Lesbians and gay men have existed throughout time and Lesbian & Gay History Month reveals a heritage that is both rich and diverse."

Individuals and organizations will organize events to mark Lesbian & Gay History Month. GLAAD's organizing primer and educational brochures and posters have been distributed to local community-based groups. GLAAD's official History Month World Wide Web page, with a challenging interactive quiz, is located at http://www.glaad.org/glaad/history-month. National Coming Out Day takes place on October 11. On October 4, in the nation's capital, GLAAD, The Advocate and the House of Seagram present The Long Road to Freedom, a stirring scrapbook of modern lesbian and gay history. Other events will take place nationally on college campuses, bookstores and libraries and on the Internet.

In January 1994, a high school teacher in Missouri, appalled by the exclusion of lesbian and gay history from textbooks, set out to make a change. Rodney Wilson organized teachers and community leaders to educate the public about lesbians and gay men past and present. They formed a national grassroots network to create a celebration and education campaign that continues today. October was picked as Lesbian & Gay History Month to commemorate the anniversaries of the first two lesbian and gay marches on Washington in October 1979 and 1987.

Lesbian & Gay History Month is endorsed by leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered organizations, including the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Teachers Network, the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

GLAAD is the nation's lesbian and gay news bureau and the only national lesbian and gay media watchdog organization. GLAAD promotes fair, accurate, and inclusive representation as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.


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