Following the Stonewall riots of 1969, different groups championing gay rights gained momentum, which led to many American cities coming up with ways to document and share the history of the LGBTQ+ community.
Since the pre-Colonial era, LGBTQ+ individuals and their activities have been excluded from the nation’s historical records, which may appear to discriminate against the community.
Celebrating LGBTQ+ Lives and Accomplishment
Sexual or romantic relationships that did not conform to the heterosexual social convention were forbidden. Persons involved in such relationships faced risks of being discriminated against, losing jobs, isolated by their family and friends, among others. Since the LGBTQ+ individuals were frustrated in any attempt to record chronicles regarding their love and general lives, most of their activities have remained invisible in the historical landscape.
Following events like Stonewall and its aftermath, the lives of LGBTQ+ community members and their activities began to be documented by media, individuals, and organizations.
Organizations interested in LGBTQ+ histories, such as The History Project, were established in numerous cities in the U.S. and worldwide. These organizations ensured that the LGBTQ lives and their activities could gain a rightful place in history.
Given the long wait, discrimination, and exclusion of LGBTQ activities in the nation’s history, the work of The History Project is required- both in ensuring that the community’s history before Stonewall does not fade and in enhancing the rich historical record of the Boston area in the coming years.
Why is LGBTQ+ History Important?
To remember how the LGBTQ+ community got rights
In 1967, being homosexual in the UK was decriminalized; that’s recent enough for many to have forgotten. The fight for equal rights was faced with lots of challenges.
Alan Turing, a mathematician was chemically castrated for being gay – a legal way of stopping immoral behavior by the government.
The question is if he could still be alive, how much could he have contributed to society?
To Discover the Untold LGBTQ+ History
LGBTQ+ identities are not a new thing; they have existed for as long as the human race has. However, history books have ignored or erased the community’s existence and contributions to the larger society.
Most people have heard about war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, but not much is told about their sexuality.
To Let LGBTQ+ Children See Themselves Reflected in Their History
Given the faint knowledge that LGBTQ+ children have on matters concerning the LGBTQ+ community, it is evident that not much is taught concerning LGBTQ+ issues. In fact, two out of five LGBTQ+ children do not learn a thing about LGBTQ+ issues at school.
As children, seeing individuals you identify with and have achieved not only in history but also in current life enables them to have faith in themselves and have a positive attitude towards life.
For example, it can be encouraging for LGBTQ+ children to fight for their lights when they read about the Stonewall riots heroes, which led to the gay rights movement internationally. Storm DeLarverie, Marsha P Johnson, and Sylvia Rivera led the resistance against police brutality at Stonewall Inn- the gay bar in New York.
These individuals were lesbian and trans women of color, the same as most individuals who were murdered more than any other LGBTQ+ identity in 2019.
Trans women youth and lesbian people of color are entitled to learn about such people to fight for their rights without fear.
LGBTQ+ History Helps Us Learn How to Change the World
The gay movement stood with the miner’s strike in 1984. It was a clear indication that they do not need to be in history just because they were jailed or murdered fighting for their rights but also because they stand in solidarity with other causes that do not affect them directly.
The gay rights movement teaches us that we can stand up in solidarity and achieve what we believe in.
To Remember How Far the LGBTQ+ Community Have Come
Within the last 30 years, acceptance of being gay, trans, intersex, or gender non-conforming has changed tremendously. When Caitlyn Jenner came out as a trans person in 2015 led to the explosion of the media, recently, there have been trans people who are out and celebrated by the media and the community.
LGBTQ+ history and historical events are gouged from archives of the past, with most citizens researching LGBTQ+-related issues.
To Remember Those Without Rights
Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is a crime in most countries. Where it is not criminalized, the individuals are stigmatized, isolated, discriminated against, among other issues. According to group Transrespect, 331 trans individuals and people with gender diversity were murdered in 2019.
There is a need to fight for LGBTQ+ rights and educate people about the issues they face, together with the sacrifices they have made in their fight for equal rights.
LGBTQ+ History Helps Avoid Discrimination
LGBTQ+ history is important for queer children of color to understand that queerness is not limited to white people only. Queer people of color face discrimination and prejudice at a higher rate than white queer people. History about queer people of color will boost the self-acceptance of queer children of color, which may go a long way in enhancing their mental wellness.
In order to have a better understanding of the human race and its activities, we rely on history. History paints a clear picture of the past events and the sacrifices made by the heroes before us. When it comes to LGBTQ+ issues and the sacrifices made in the past, the community needs to know their history. The LGBTQ+ community is entitled to know how the past LGBTQ+ individuals lived and loved and how they participated in ensuring equal rights, among other things.