Find here all the existing LGBT+ History Months around the world.
LGBTQ+ History MontH USA
Rodney Wilson was a secondary government and history teacher in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, when in January 1994 he wrote a proposal to name that October as the first annual (then called) Lesbian and Gay History Month. Inspired by Black History Month (February in the USA) and Women’s History Month (March in the USA), Wilson sent his proposal to all LGBTQ organizations of the time and to notable historians and public figures asking for endorsements and support. In May 1994, he organized a national coordinating council, on which Johnda Boyce, Kevin Boyer, Jessea Greenman, and Kevin Jennings were key members with Wilson, along with Torey Wilson and Saralyn Chestnut. The committee created a curriculum packet with reading lists, activity suggestions, and ideas for marking the occasion. The Gerber/Hart Library and Archives in Chicago served as the first institutional home. Significant LGBTQ media coverage of the inaugural event in October 1994 helped to publicize the celebration in the community and proclamations from the governors of Oregon, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and the mayors of Boston and Chicago, helped legitimize the endeavor nationally. The first institutional homes for LGBTQ History Month USA were the Gerber/Hart LGBTQ Library and Archive (Chicago); GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network); and GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). Since 2006, Philadelphia’s Equality Forum has been primary organizer of the annual event, selecting 31 LGBTQ icons each October to highlight, one for each day of the month. Today, LGBTQ+ History Month USA is widely celebrated each October in the USA – in secondary schools, on college campuses, in the LGBTQ+ community, and in LGBTQ and mainstream media stories.
LGBT+ History Month UK
Sue Sanders and Paul Patrick, then co-chairs of Schools OUT UK, conceived and launched LGBT History Month UK in 2004, with its first celebratory month occurring in February 2005, to mark the 2003 repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government Act of 1988, legislation prohibiting the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities. School OUT UK was founded in 1974 as The Gay Teachers Association. Its primary goals remain making UK schools safe for all students and all educators. It continues to organize the annual LGBT History Month UK and engage in many other efforts to support students and schools and advance the rights of LGBT people and their history.
LGBT History Month Scotland
LGBT History Month Scotland, independent of the national UK effort, began in 2007 when LGBT Youth Scotland took over organizing LGBT History Month Scotland, choosing its own theme each year and promoting History Month in Scotland’s schools. The 2022 theme was: Blurring Borders: A World in Motion. During the 2022 celebration, the Scottish Parliament recognized the importance of LGBT History Month Scotland with a period of discussion.
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LGBT History Month Wales
LGBTQ+ History Month Cymru, largely independent of the UK effort, began in 2011 when Norena Shopland secured funding for Welsh Pride, the first LGBTQ+ project in Wales, and a launch was held at the Senedd. A year later the first exhibition of Welsh LGBTQ+ people, allies, and events took place using information gained in the Welsh Pride project. Over the following years, Shopland ran History Month Cymru with no funding but provided diaries of events, resources, held meetings, and provided encouragement to individuals and organisations to become involved. In 2011 only a handful of events had been held in Wales but by 2017 there were 32 events. History Month Cymru ceased to exist after that year because the work had become too onerous for one person. In 2021 the Welsh Government commission Shopland to provide a training course on LGBTQ+ Language and History for all local libraries, museums, and archives, the first country in the world to provide this type of training. Due to the high positivity ratings, discussions are ongoing with the government to continue providing this training. This is in keeping with their LGBTQ+ Action Plan to make Wales one of the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries in the world. Following this, discussions to revive a Wales-wide, History Month Cymru, have been taking place and it is hoped to launch in 2023.
LGBTQ+ History Month Romania
LGBTQ+ History Month in Romania first took place in February 2012 in Bucharest, organized by the first Romanian LGBTQ-rights organization ACCEPT, founded in 1996. First popularized as a concept by ACCEPT, other LGBTQ+ organizations in Romania started creating their own LGBTQ+ History Months in Timișoara, Cluj, Iași and Brașov. This History Month consists of events promoting queer culture in Romania. In October 2018, an anti-LGBTQ+ referendum that wanted to change the Romanian Constitution to “marriage is between a man and a woman” from the current passage that says “marriage is between two spouses” (that still did not allow same-sex couples to get married, but wanted to create more hatred and prejudice towards the LGBTQ+ community). Fortunately, because of civil society’s work at the time, the referendum did not pass and as a reminder of that time when our community had to come together against hatred, the LGBTQIA+ History Month in Romania was moved to the month of October. Since 2019, LGBTQIA+ History Month takes place in October in the cities mentioned above.
LGBT History Month Hungary
Two activists from Labrisz Lesbian Association and two from the Háttér Society took part in a week-long workshop called “Engaging Hearts and Minds” in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in autumn 2012. LGBT Youth Scotland, the coordinator of the LGBT History Month Scotland, involved eight European countries to organize their first LGBT History Month. After months of preparation, in February 2013 the first LGBT History Month took place in Hungary, with nearly 30 events. It was opened by Károly Makk, director of the film “Another Way” (1982), the first Hungarian film to present same-sex love in an open and positive way. The event has been held every year since then. In the past years, we have held discussions and lectures about significant LGBTQI+ historical events, historical figures, HIV pandemic, the beginnings of the LGBTQI+ movement, changes in the perception of society, art, church, psychology, law, media, and education. As part of the series, we also held exhibitions, film screenings, dance nights, quizzes, theatre performances, workshops, sporting events, and parties in Budapest and in several major cities in Hungary. Since the beginning we have been working with LGBTQI+ organizations, theatres, cultural institutions, universities, media outlets, embassies, LGBTQI-friendly venues, and many NGOs. In 2020, Szimpozion Association joined Háttér and Labrisz as a coordinating organization. In 2023, LGBT History Month Hungary was moved to March.
Queer History Month Berlin
Queer History Month Berlin takes place in May every year since 2014. With our annual programme we aim to empower, educate and raise awareness about Berlin’s rich and diverse queer history. We focus on building various bridges between the past and present with an intersectional approach. The Queer History Month Berlin established a network including LGBTIQ* projects and cultural institutions such as theaters, museums and archives in Berlin. We constantly invite organizations and activists to join us as we understand our network to be ever growing.
LGBTQ+ History Month Australia
Australia’s first observance of LGBTQ History Month was in October 2016 when Minus 18 partnered with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (since 2020, Australian Queer Archives) and Safe Schools Coalition Victoria to inaugurate the commemorative month. The event faltered in subsequent years and then came the challenges of covid, but now the Australian Queer Archives and LGBTQ historian and member of this committee, Graham Willett, are working toward a re-establishment of the month-long celebration in the fall of 2022.
Nordic Rainbow History and Culture Month
Tupilak, a Nordic organization for LGBTQ culture workers and activists founded by Bill Shiller and others in 1989, promotes and supports Nordic and Baltic LGBTQ culture in art, photography, literature, film, theater, and music. In 1991, Tupilak helped found the International Lesbian and Gay Culture Network (ILGCN) to reach beyond the Nordic zone when culture workers felt the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), founded in 1978, was not adequately addressing LGBTQ culture. Since October 2016, Tupilak and the ILGCN have promoted a Nordic Rainbow History & Culture Month as a time for highlighting LGBTQ culture and history across Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Åland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Each location is welcome to participate in October’s Nordic Rainbow History & Culture Month and/or to create their own nation-specific LGBTQ history month effort.
LGBTQ+ History Month Northern Ireland
In February 2016, during the 12th annual LGBT+ History Month UK festivities, Dr. Richard O’Leary gave a public lecture at Queen’s University Belfast to highlight Northern Ireland’s LGBT history during, with the title of his talk called “The Faithful Underground: Christian and Gay in Northern Ireland 1976-2016.” The first Outing the Past history festival in NI was in Belfast in 2018. The LGBT NI Heritage Project, which is a collaboration of HERe NI, Cara-Friend, and the Rainbow Project, the three main LGBT sector organizastions in N. Ireland, organizes the LGBT History Month Northern Ireland project.
LGBTQ+ History Month Canada
As early as 2012, a few Canadian activists, including vice-chair of Queer Ontario Casey Oraa, were meeting in Toronto to discuss how Canada could join the US and UK in establishing a national history month in Canada. Those hopes were not realized. In October 2018, however, Meryem Benslimane, Equity Education Advisor in the Office of the Associate Provost for Equity and Academics at McGill University, in conjunction with student group Queer McGill and with the university’s Institute for Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, established the first Queer History Month at a Canadian university. In the years since, Queer History Month Canada has been observed at other universities beyond McGill and in the Canadian LGBTQ community. The nearly 400,000-member National Union of Public and General Employees in its October 2021 endorsement of Queer History Canada proudly stated that “LGBTQI2S+ history should have a place in our history curriculums. LGBTQI2S+ history is Canadian history. It’s our duty to pass on intersectional knowledge to future generations.”
Queer History Month Finland
The first Rainbow History Month was organized in Finland in 2018. The previous year Culture for All Service, in collaboration with the national LGBTIQ+ human rights organization Seta, had celebrated the nation’s centenary with a range of Rainbow Finland 100 themed activities. Hence it was only a small step to continue such activities with memory institutions also the following year. In 2020 a new organization, Sateenkaarihistorian ystävät (SHY, Queerhistoriens vänner in Swedish and Friends of Queer History in English) was founded, to take over the coordinating responsibilities for the Rainbow History Month, to be held in November. As SHY received a 180 000 € grant from Kone Foundation in 2021, it was able to hire a coordinator for two years. In addition to organizing the Rainbow History Month, their task was to manage our website sateenkaarihistoria.fi, our Facebook page Sateenkaarihistoria, and our Instagram account @sateenkaarihistoria. As 2021 was also the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexual deeds, and 40th anniversary of the demedicalization of homosexuality, and 10th of the demedicalisation of fetish and transvestite interests, we also organized two thematic seminars relating to the problematic histories of sanctioning non-normative sexualities and gender expressions. In addition to organizing the annual Rainbow History Month in November, SHY continues to be an information hub for memory organizations and individuals interested in LGBTIQ+ history all year around.
LGBTQ+ History Month Armenia
In 2019 Pink’s community officer suggested celebrating History Month after she found out about the concept and idea of the month. We organized several events during History Month to talk about achievements both in the world and in Armenia. October has another meaning for us as we have our National Day to Combat Domestic Violence on October 1 and that day is important also for us as a queer organization because family is still a place where LGBTIQ kids are not accepted mostly and domestic violence is a big issue for our community. We also celebrate Coming Out day and organize various events on that day where people share their personal stories and find support in the community. History Month is full of informative events, documentary screenings and community gatherings.
Southeast Asian Queer History Month
The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus is a legally registered non-profit organization based in the Southeast Asian region and works in 11 countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam). It was founded in 2011 during the ASEAN Civil Society Conference / ASEAN People’s Forum (ACSC/APF) in Jakarta, Indonesia. ASEAN SOGIE Caucus creates spaces for leadership, advocates for better human rights protections, and empower local LGBTIQ activists in engaging human rights mechanisms. In 2021, ASEAN SOGIE Caucus organized the first Southeast Asian Queer Cultural Festival (www.seaqcf.net) to reclaim Southeast Asian queer history and memory through arts and culture. The festival engaged more than 50 artists across the region and featured works such as films, a drag show, online archival work, and literary arts. Since 2020, the ASC has promoted an LGBTIAQueerstory Month, and similar commemorations, in Southeast Asia.
Queer History Month Netherlands
The first Queer History Month Netherlands took place in February 2021 and since 2022 is held annually in March. The IHLIA, an international queer archive in Amsterdam, and participating cultural institutions work together each year to create a platform for the celebration and transmission of LGBTQ+ histories, stories and achievements.
LGBT+ History Month Italy
Almost 30 years after the very first month organized in the United States by Rodney Wilson, Italy celebrated its first LGBT+ History Month in April 2022. This month was chosen in honor of the first public demonstration organized by the Italian gay and lesbian community in Sanremo in April 1972. Reflecting the transnational times in which we live, the original promoting team of the Italian LGBT+ History Month is constituted by citizens of the world. Some of us have been exposed to both the American and the British LGBT+ Months for a few years and decided that it was time to organize a similar celebration and promote the often-forgotten history of our fabulous queer community. The Italian team that launched this project includes, in alphabetical order, are Chiara Beccalossi (historian at the University of Lincoln, UK), Oscar-Silvi Bertolissi (queer activist), Federica Folino Gallo (LGBT activist), Luca Locati Luciani (LGBT activist), and Alessio Ponzio (historian at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada).
LGBTQ+ History Month Cuba
In late November 2021, Raúl Pérez Monzón, a historian at the University of Havana, and Rodney Wilson, founder of LGBTQ History Month USA, began a conversation about the possibility of bringing LGBTQ History Month to Cuba. Raúl was aware of LGBT History Months in other locations and was quick to take up the idea of founding LGBT+ History Month Cuba. He had conversations with department colleagues at the University of Havana, with other Cuban historians and LGBT community activists, and in early March 2022 had a meeting at Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), a government institution of the Ministry of Public Health that advocates for tolerance on LGBT issues on the island and acceptance of sexual diversity, attracting in recent years international attention for transgender rights, including recognition of a person’s gender identity, regardless of sex assignment at birth, and also providing state-funded gender-affirmation surgery. In March, Raúl recruited three others to his committee – Juan Carlos Gutiérrez Pérez, Shelman Sánchez Lafuente, and Richi Herrera — and the inaugural history month occurred in May 2022, to coincide with Cuba’s Days Against Homophobia and Transphobia, marked in May every year.
Francophone LGBT History Month
LGBTIQ+ History Month has been celebrated in multiple countries around the world, including Europe, since 1994, with Italy and Cuba being the latest countries to celebrate it for the first time in 2022. LGBT+ Pride week is celebrated across different cities around France. However, there was a need for a dedicated month for sharing the rich local LGBTI+ history of social movements, associations, activists, and advancement in equal rights. In May 2022, John Samuel contacted several LGBTI+ associations in France about the possibility of a dedicated history month in France and received an affirmative response from Les Sans Pages, an association focusing on reducing gender bias on Wikipedia (or Wikimedia) pages. Considering the numerous pride events including the pride parades in June each year, June 2022 was selected for celebrating the first Francophone LGBTI+ History Month. Celebrated the first year as a virtual event for documenting the LGBTI+ history on Wikimedia pages, it attracted numerous Wikimedians who contributed by creating new articles and improving existing ones. A small beginning for a huge mission.
LGBTQ History Month Uganda
The first LGBTQ History Month was marked in Uganda in October 2022.
Future History Months
Early celebrations of Queer History in New Zealand appeared in the form of conferences and exhibitions, including Lesbian Studies conferences in Wellington in 1993 and 1995. The exhibition Outlines: Lesbian and Gay Liberation in the 1970s, which was held at the National Library in Wellington from November 2002 to March 2003, included gallery and archive tours and film screenings, and culminated in the conference Lesbian and Gay History in Aotearoa in February 2003. In December 2006 a history conference 20 Years On celebrated twenty years since Homosexual Law Reform in New Zealand and included a photographic exhibition which toured the main centres. In February/March 2009 and January 2010 Queer History walk tours were held in Wellington and became regular monthly tours from 2017. An Afternoon at the Archives was held at the New Zealand National Archives in November 2012, featuring documents and records pertaining to Queer History. For three Septembers in a row, 2013-2015, Queer History Months were held in Wellington and featured talks, ‘show and tell’ community events, film screenings and archive tours. However, despite these ad hoc activities, events have yet to crystalise into a dedicated national LGBTTIFQ History Month on an ongoing basis in Aotearoa New Zealand.