GSA Celebrates LGTBQ+ History Month

October, despite all the pumpkins and ghosts and witches, was also LGTBQ+ history month. LGTBQ+ history is significant, not only to members of the LGTBQ+ community but to everyone, especially youth.

“I think youth need to learn about LGBTQIA+ history because it is our history. One thing that I hope we are realizing in 2020 is that we can’t divide histories into different groups, like Black History, or Hispanic History, or Women’s History; it is all our history,” explained English teacher Meghan Donohue, who also co-sponsors the GSA. “We can’t privilege one single view of the past; we need to have a broader view.”

Whether you are LGTBQ+ or not, this history does shape our society, and it is always important to learn from the past. Youth, especially, are encouraged to be educated on LGTBQ+ history because our youth is our future. We must learn about our past to create the best future possible—a future of respect, acceptance, equality, and improvement.

“As an English teacher, I think of each of us as having stories that are worth telling and for everyone to know. A poet name Liesel Muller has a poem called Why We Tell Stories and she says:

‘Because the story of our life

becomes our life

Because each of us tells

the same story

but tells it differently’

“We need to know LGBTQIA+ history because it is the story of what happened and will certainly shape the stories of what is yet to come,” said Ms. Donohue.

You may be wondering, who are some historical LGTBQ+ people who had great impacts on society? One example is Marsha P. Johnson, who was a gay / transgender-American liberation activist, as well as a drag performer. Johnson was also very well-known for being a part of the Stonewall riots. The Stonewall riots occurred after police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular bar and gathering place for LGTBQ+ people. This incident started the first gay-rights movement in 1969. Johnson also joined Sylvia Rivera, another iconic LGTBQ+ activist, in founding the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, also known as STAR, an association advocating for the young trans community. Johnson spent her life fighting for gay liberation and equal rights, which still impact us today. She passed away in 1992 but will always be remembered as one of the most iconic American (LGTBQ+) activists.

Another historical LGTBQ+ icon is Edith Windsor. She was a Lesbian-American LGTBQ+ rights activist, as well as a technology manager. The Windsor Decision is a landmark civil-rights case in the United States Supreme Court, demanding federal legal recognition of same-sex marriage. It was decided in 2013. Before this, same-sex marriages weren’t given any recognition legally. Windsor passed away in 2017, but her acts and determination will be remembered forever.

Thanks to these icons and many others, LGTBQ+ rights have improved greatly, and many young people today are still working hard to make changes and bring equality to our world.

If you are interested in learning more about LGTBQ+, look no further. Longfellow’s GSA club provides a safe space for all genders, sexualities, identities, etc.

“Everyone is welcome!” exclaimed Ms. Donohue.It is a place for people with caring hearts, stories to tell, and a desire to encourage equality.”

The GSA has positively impacted our students here at LMS and has grown much bigger since it first began two years ago. Overall, it is astonishing to see how far LGTBQ+ rights have come and how much there still is to be done.