By Jason Villemez
Gay History Month began as a direct result of the lack of gay and lesbian history in textbooks. In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher in Missouri, along with other leaders and educators, started a campaign to educate the general public about the history of the GLBT community. Since then, many prominent groups have endorsed October as Gay and Lesbian History Month, along with several state and city governments.
In celebration, leaders of the gay press have come together to raise awareness of those who fought for all the rights and privileges we enjoy today, and gave us all reason to dedicate this month to them. All of us involved with the project hope that sharing their history will show a guiding light upon todayÕs paths that remain uncharted.
Starting this year we’ll introduce you to some of those historic individuals who took us from secret meetings in apartments and clubs, to the day in June in 1969 when one group finally said no to oppression and fought back against the police. Before and after Stonewall were different heroes who came out and led the community to the admirable heights it has reached today. This publication along with other leading GLBT publications from across the country voted on 12 people to honor as part of this years Gay History month
To help enlighten us further on specific facets of GLBT history, we’ve asked some of the most important, well-known, and outspoken members of our community to point the way.
We’re proud to bring you exclusive pieces from Congressman Barney Frank as our first chronicler of Gay political history, Academy Award writer Bruce VilanchÕs look at how we’ve been portrayed on the silver screen, and famed TV writer Gail ShisterÕs views of our presence on the small tube. Tennis phenom Martina Navratilova gives a first person view of sports and the coming out process, and finally, we’ll see how the media hones in on a gay reality star and his well known boyfriend with exclusive excerpts from Amazing Race winner Reichen LehmkuhlÕs book “HereÕs What WeÕll Say.”
Welcome to Gay History Month.