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LGBT History Month

October is LGBTQ History Month, "an annual month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements."

What is LGBT History Month?


Originally organized as Gay and Lesbian History Month, it was started in 1994 by an out, gay high school teacher, Rodney Wilson (LGBTQ Nation). In the United States, October is recognized as LGBT History Month, coinciding with National Coming out Day on Oct. 11 and in honor of the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979.

In the UK, February is used because that was the month a bill banning the "promotion" of homosexuality was repealed in 1988 (American Psychological Association).


Difference from Pride Month

Pride is a protest, a battle cry, whereas History Month is a celebration.

June -- LGBTQ+ Pride Month -- arose from remembrance and celebration of the Stonewall uprising. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York City, but the patrons resisted. The protest attracted thousands from around the city and lasted about a week. The first pride was celebrated on the one-year anniversary. ("Today in History - June 28," Library of Congress)

This, the first U.S. Gay Pride Week and March, was meant to give the community a chance to gather together to "...commemorate the Christopher Street Uprisings [Stonewall Inn] of last summer in which thousands of homosexuals went to the streets to demonstrate against centuries of abuse ... from government hostility to employment and housing discrimination, Mafia control of Gay bars, and anti-Homosexual laws" (Christopher Street Liberation Day Committee Fliers, Franklin Kameny Papers). ("About," Library of Congress)



Significant Publications

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For


This collection gathers two decades of the comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, which provided ongoing lesbian representation. This is also where the Bechdel test of movie analysis was introduced!

Borrow: HCPL OverDrive

Odd Girl Out


This is an early entry into the lesbian pulp fiction genre, featuring a relative degree of internal acceptance for the romantic interests. It provides a contemporary look at midcentury lesbian life.

Borrow: HCPL OverDrive

Giovanni's Room


Notably showcases bisexuality and homosexuality in a complex and literary (rather than pulpy or titillating) way.

Borrow: HCPL OverDrive

The City and the Pillar


Coming of age novel involving a young man discovering his own homosexuality. He is sympathetically portrayed, avoids stereotypes of feminity, and is not killed off by the novel's end.

No library copies

The Well of Loneliness


Novel focused on a lesbian couple (or in the language of the time, "sexual inverts") who meet during World War I. Though they struggle with social isolation, their "inversion" is also portrayed as natural.

Borrow: HCPL OverDrive

Leaves of Grass


This collection of poems was quite controversial for its time for its explicit imagery and homoeroticism. The Calamus section of poems on "the manly love of comrades" in particular lends itself to this interpretation, as do parts of Song of Myself.

Read: Ebook Central

E-Books on LGBTQ+ History

Coming Out under Fire: The History of Gay Men and Women in World War II
Transgender History
Departing from Deviance: A History of Homosexual Rights and Emancipatory Science in America
Charity and Sylvia: A Same-Sex Marriage in Early America
The Wedding Heard 'Round the World
Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories
Queer Clout
Masked Voices
Gay Bar: The Fabulous, True Story of a Daring Woman and Her Boys in The 1950s


About This Guide

Created by: Elaine Patton

Other Contributors:

First Published: October 2023

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