When we celebrate LGBTQ+ history month, we promote equality and diversity, raise awareness of LGBTQ+ identities, provide understanding of the complex nature of gender, biology, and romantic/sexual orientation, and honor those LGBTQ+ figures who changed the world.
There are many ways for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community, and their allies, to celebrate this month. As Laverne Cox, transgender rights activist and actress, so eloquently stated, “I’ve never been interested in being invisible or erased.” Here are some suggestions for honoring the LGBTQ+ figures who paved the way for the LGBTQ+ community to be visible and proud!:
Suggestions for Teachers: Strive to creatively weave historical LGBTQ+ figures into your curriculum. Introduce students to the lived experiences and perspectives of LGBTQ+ icons through stories, visual art, food, music, and film. A curriculum that includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender-expansive historical figures creates a more affirming environment and healthy self-concept for LGBTQ+ students while also raising awareness for all students.
Suggestions for Students: Make your voice heard! Make an appointment with your Principal and ask to read an announcement about LGBTQ+ History Month. Or submit an article to your school’s newspaper. If your school has a GSA, have the group plan a special lunchtime event like “Karaoke to Celebrate LGBTQ+ Musicians.” And if your school doesn’t have a GSA, this is the perfect month to start one!
Suggestions For Parents: Show your affirming support for your LGBTQ+ child in a demonstrable manner. Buy a LGBTQ+ flag and fly it proudly outside your home. Make a point to read up on LGBTQ+ historical figures and share your knowledge at the dinner table. Show your LGBTQ+ child that you will stand up to those who have outdated and unwelcome attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community. Be a LGBTQ+ hero for your child!
Suggestions For Friends and Allies: Sometimes simple things can make a difference in showing your LGBTQ+ friends that you are a strong ally. Wear a rainbow shirt, add your pronouns on your Instagram bio, or bake your LGBTQ+ friends some rainbow cupcakes!
Suggestions For Co-Workers: You can demonstrate that you are an ally to your LGBTQ+ co-workers by adding your pronouns to your email signature, as well as wearing a rainbow lanyard and a pronoun pin at work. Show interest in your LGBTQ+ co-worker’s life and ask about their interests outside of work. The more work friends the better!
And to all of our friends in the LGBTQ+ community: Happy LGBTQ+ History Month! We see you, we support you, and we are proud of you! And as the great gay playwright, actor, and Tony winner Harvey Fierstein said, “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself!”
Want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community? Please join us! Kaleidoscope offers free groups and clubs for teens ages 12-17 and young adults 18-24. We also have a free bi- monthly parent/ally/caregiver support group. For more information, visit our event page at kaleidoscopelgbtq.org/events/
About the author
Jeri Rochman, JD, MA is the Program Director for Kaleidoscope and the very proud mom of a wonderful gay son. She is a National Board Certified Counselor, Certified Parent Educator and Trained Crisis Counselor. Interested in learning more about Kaleidoscope’s programs and services? She can be reached at [email protected].