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LGBTQ+ History Month (October 2023)

A guide on the basics of LGBTQ+ History Month. This includes library material, a brief history on LGBTQ+ History in America, and more.

Videos on LGBTQ+ History Month

De Anza CAN/DID LGBT Videos

History & Relevance

LGBTQ+ History Month was initially created in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a high school teacher in Missouri. October was chosen to include National Coming Out Day on October 11th, as well as the first LGBTQ+ march in Washington, DC on October 14th, 1979. The month has expanded to include Spirit Day on October 20th, Ally Week, and the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard on October 12th, 1998.

  • In 1994, a collection of educational and equity groups in the United States designated October to be LGBTQ+ History Month.
  • In 1995, a resolution passed through the General Assembly of the National Education Association to designate October as LGBTQ+ History Month, chosen to include National Coming Out Day and 1979's "March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights".
  • In 2010, Spirit Week was created in observance of a striking increase in teen suicides and to create more awareness of LGBTQ+ teenage bullying.

Important Legal Events

  • 1953 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed in Executive Order 10450, which amongst other aspects banned homosexuals from federal employment, citing national security concerns.
  • 1958 - The court case One, Inc. v. Olesen takes place over issues surrounding homosexuality and free speech. The Supreme Court labels discussing homosexuality as "not inherently obscene" and is therefore protected under the First Amendment, Freedom of Speech, formally known as One, Inc. v. Olesen 355 U.S. 371. This ruling overturned the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's ruling on the matter in 1957, labeled One, Inc. v. Olesen 241 F.2d 772.
  • 1997 - Court case Romer v. Evans, wherein the United States Supreme Court found the 2nd Amendment included "homosexual, lesbian, or bisexual orientation, conduct, practices or relationships" relating to a Colorado Court's ruling finding the opposite, and it violated Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment. It was found the Colorado ordinances "infringed the fundamental rights of gays and lesbians to participate in the political process."
  • 2001 - In Nevada, Derek Henkle sues his high school's school district on the account it did not protect him from "constant harassment, assaults, intimidation, and discrimination by other students"  because he is gay, male, and appeared on a television show covering "out" individuals. he informed school officials on the incidents, but no action was taken.
  • 2001 - In Nebraska, a court case found Richardson County Sheriff Charles B. Laux liable for his abusive conduct towards and failure to protect a transgender man, which resulted in his murder.
  • 2003 - a Texas court overruled the convictions of two men found to be guilty of "deviate sexual intercourse, namely anal sex, with a member of the same sex (man)". The court also finds the state cannot judge someone on matters of their private lives. This case overruled Supreme Court case Bowers v. Hardwick from 1986.
  • 2008 - a landmark case where a federal district judge found the government liable for $500,000 in damages after the Library of Congress discriminated against an individual going through gender transition. Schroer applied for a military history specialist position at the Congressional Research Service and was accepted, until they informed the Library of Congress of their transitioning, which led to the government rescinding the acceptance. The Library of Congress was found in error of Title VII.
  • 2020 - In Georgia, several employees of a company were fired after the company learned of their membership to a LGBTQIA+ group. The plaintiffs stated they were discriminated against due to their sex, violating Title VII, specifically stating whether "homosexuality or transgender status" is included. The Justice ended the case, stating "An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids."


Gay rights demonstration at the Democratic National Convention, New York City