October is LGBTQ History Month, a time when we honor queer icons of the past and acknowledge how far we’ve come. We also need to remember that the struggle continues, and that queer folks are integral to every fight for justice — from reproductive rights to Black Lives Matter. Many of us are still subject to discrimination in housing and employment, and too many of our youth still get disowned by their families. As we look back to where the rainbow began, we cannot forget that we still have some storms to weather before everyone can see it clearly.
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All Month Long:
Everywhere: Put an end to the Hyde Amendment
For the past 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has restricted federal funds from being used for abortion services. Many cisgender women, trans folks, and gender nonconforming people have had access to abortions stripped away by the financial barriers Hyde has created. Some have even died because they could not afford the medical procedure.
On September 30, the 40th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, All Above All kicked off the #BeBoldEndHyde hashtag as a call to end the amendment’s legacy of economic and reproductive injustice. Folks are encouraged to share their personal stories, advocate against the Hyde Amendment, support local reproductive-rights work, and take a stand for economic justice everywhere. You can find more information about all of these efforts at the All Above All “Take Action” page.
A walking tour of LGBTQ history in Roanoke, Virginia; an effort to preserve Washington, D.C.’s queer past; and Coming Out Day celebrations everywhere are bringing rainbows to your skies.
Sunday, October 9
Washington, D.C.: Watch the debate with a panel of experts at Election 2016: Where Do American Muslims Go From Here?
6:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Busboys and Poets Cullen Room
1025 5th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
The rights and freedoms of Muslims in America are central to this election. Islamophobia continues to affect how citizens in this country think we should handle concerns about national security, immigration, and privacy. These issues are likely to come up in this week’s presidential debate, which is why Muppies DC, a Muslim professionals organization, is hosting a debate watch party and panel discussion with Yasmine Taeb, Wardah Khalid, Haroon Ullah, and Jamiah Adams — all well-respected experts in how politics affect Muslims from activist, journalist, and government perspectives. The panel (and a dinner) will precede the debate. Tickets are $28 in advance and $30 the day of. Seating is limited, so RSVP soon.
Monday, October 10
San Antonio, Texas: Learn about the New Orleans gay nightclub massacre of 1973 at a screening of Upstairs Inferno
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
1300 San Pedro Ave.
San Antonio, TX 78212
Directed by Robert L. Camina and narrated by New Orleans native and author Christopher Rice, Upstairs Inferno is an investigative look at one of the most horrific attacks in LGBTQ history. On June 24, 1973, at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans, someone blocked the exits and set the building ablaze with the patrons trapped inside. This award-winning documentary gives its audience a rare intimate look into the lives lost and affected by this hateful act. The director will be on hand after the screening for a Q&A about the film and the history it explores. This event is free and open to the public.
Tuesday, October 11
Everywhere: Celebrate Coming Out Day!
All day long
Coming Out Day is all about sharing the joys and struggles of coming out, and making the world a place where every LGBTQ person can be safely out and proud. It is not a time to forcibly out people or shame those who are even a little closeted. We all have to take our own journey when coming out, and each path is unique to the person walking it. You can check out Human Rights Campaign for coming-out resources. Share your coming-out story or see the stories of others at Coming Out. Always celebrate being true to yourself, no matter who you are or how you choose to do it.
Saturday, October 15
Washington, D.C.: Help protect D.C.’s queer history at Preserving the Records of D.C.'s LGBT Communities
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
901 G St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
The best way to celebrate LGBTQ History Month is to make sure that history is there for future generations. To that end, the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and the Rainbow History Project have joined with several other organizations to host a discussion of important relics of D.C.’s LGBTQ past. From personal documents to entire collections of memorabilia from protests and organizations, a wide swath of that history will be on display. There will also be an opportunity for the public to help identify facets of the community that are underrepresented and learn ways that everyone can help with historical preservation efforts. The event is free, but make sure to register in advance.
Sunday, October, 23
Roanoke, Virginia: Stroll through the past at Downtown Roanoke LGBTQ History Walking Tour
Roanoke City Market Building
32 Market Sq. SE
Roanoke, VA 24011
Take a walk down memory lane spanning over 60 years with the Southwest Virginia LGBTQ+ History Project. Learn about the city’s first gay bar, old cruising areas from long before the advent of Grindr, and the locations where Roanoke has stood up for equality from the 1950s till now. The tour is free and you can find information about additional tours here. This walk will be held no matter what the weather looks like. What’s wrong with a little rain when you’re out chasing rainbows?
I hope you find a way to celebrate the rich history of the LGBTQ community wherever you are. We’re still making historic strides every day and in every corner of our world. Whether that history will be made made by bringing out the sun or calling down a storm, we need you!