October is national LGBT History Month

Wed. October 1, 2014 9:40 AM by GoPride.com News Staff

the legacy walk dedication oct. 11, 2012

Local events celebrate Chicago’s award-winning Legacy Walk

Chicago, IL - October is officially LGBT History Month and this year marks its 20th anniversary. LGBT History Month celebrates the chronicle of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and its struggle for identity, rights and equality.

In 1994, Rodney Wilson a Missouri high school teacher, conceived the idea of this designation and in subsequent years, educators and community leaders endorsed the observance.

October was selected because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (October 11), occur that month.

Gay and Lesbian History Month was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association, and other national organizations. In 2006, Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion and resources for LGBT History Month.

Launching LGBT History Month events in Chicago, Legacy Project Executive Director Victor Salvo will sit down Wednesday, Oct. 1 with Doug O'Keeffe to reflect on 30 years of LGBT activism and the creation of Chicago's award-winning Legacy Walk. The Fireside Chat, produced by Joanne Gaddy, Christina Court, and O'Keeffe, will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted.

On Saturday, Oct. 11, The Legacy Project will dedicate seven additional bronze plaques honoring poet Audre Lorde ; iconic composer Cole Porter ; acclaimed Olympian Mildred "Babe" Didrikson ; slain Ugandan activist David Kato ; astronaut Dr. Sally Ride ; "The Saint of 9/11" Fr. Mychal Judge ; and a commemoration of the riot that started a revolution - Stonewall. The free on-street dedication ceremony for the seven new plaques will begins at 3 p.m. at the pylon located at 3311 N. Halsted.

LGBT History Month Highlights

1962: Illinois became the first state in the nation to decriminalize homosexuality. The Prairie State repealed its sodomy laws nearly a decade ahead of the remaining 49 states.

1969: The Stonewall Riots took place June 28, 1969, making 2014 the 45th anniversary. Four months after that bold action for gay liberation, Time magazine ran a cover story titled, "The Homosexual: Newly Visible, Newly Understood" on Oct. 31.

1970: The first Chicago Gay Pride Parade set out from Bughouse Square and ended with speeches and a circle dance around the Picasso statue downtown.

1979: Thirty-five years ago, activists gathered on the National Mall to commence the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on Oct. 14.

1979: The first International Mr. Leather contest took place in Chicago.

1984: On March 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit found that portions of an anti-gay conduct statute affecting teachers infringed on First Amendment rights in National Gay Task Force v. Board of Education of the City of Oklahoma City.

1994: On Dec. 6, the American Medical Association stated its opposition to reparative/conversion therapy with regard to homosexuality, as homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

1999. On Dec. 20, in Baker v. Vermont, the Vermont Supreme Court ordered legislators to craft a statute that would grant same-sex couples identical rights to those of married couples.

2004: Same-sex marriages commenced in Massachusetts on May 17, based on Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.

2009: President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act on Oct. 28. The law expanded the definition of federal hate crimes to include actions motivated by actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

2012: The Legacy Walk, an outdoor "museum walk" recognizing the contributions lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people have made to world history and culture, was dedicated in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood.

2013: Illinois became the 16th state in the country to allow full marriage equality when the Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. on Nov. 5. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the measure into law on Nov. 20. 

Related: Gay Chicago Rewind, a weekly look at Chicago's LGBT history by Sukie de la Croix only on ChicagoPride.com.