Brought to you by WHA’s LGBTQ+ Employees and Allies Resource Group.
Though lesser known than LGBTQ Pride Month (June), LGBT History Month was first celebrated in 1994 and is meant to celebrate the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. October was chosen to coincide with National Coming Out Day—but there are several other important celebrations during October, as well.
October 11th – National Coming Out Day
This day was first observed in 1988 on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It recognizes the power of coming out as one of the most basic tools in the fight for equal protection under the law—and in empowering others to make the brave decision to live authentically.
“Coming out in order to live openly isn’t something you do once, or even for one year. It’s a decision that we make every single day of our lives. Every coming out experience is unique and must be navigated in the way most comfortable for the individual. Whether it’s for the first time ever or the first time today, coming out can be an arduous journey.” ~Human Rights Campaign
Know someone looking for assistance navigating their own coming-out journey? Check out these resources from Human Rights Campaign.
October 19th – International Pronouns Day
This awareness day began in 2018 and takes place each year on the 3rd Wednesday of October. The goals of the observance are to make respecting, sharing and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Even though the day has passed it is never too late to learn why pronouns matter!
October 20th – Spirit Day
Founded in 2010 by Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day is an annual observance to show support for LGBTQ youth. Coinciding with Anti-Bullying Month, participants (which now include many celebrities) wear purple, organize events and demonstrations and stand up against bullying. Said McMillan six years after the first spirit day: “It’s the participants that make Spirit Day what it is; they create their own events and their own art, all in the name of showing LGBTQ young people that they care… I know how much it means to people around the world to know that they are supported by their communities.” Learn more and start planning for next year’s celebration on GLAAD’s website.
October 24th-28th – Asexual Awareness Week
Ace Week turned 12 this year! The last full week in October, Ace Week was created to raise awareness, spread information and inspire discussion about identities that fit on the asexual spectrum. Learn more about this often-overlooked identity through stories of people in the ace community.
October 26th – Intersex Awareness Day
During most of the 20th century, people born with intersex traits and their families have experienced pressure to “normalize” their physical characteristics to fit within the male/female binary. Beginning in the ’90s, activists have sought to promote visibility and increase understanding of people born with intersex traits, advocating for the human rights of children in particular. October 26 is the anniversary of the first public demonstration by intersex people in the United States held in 1996—when members of the Intersex Society for North America protested at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in Boston. Learn more about intersex advocacy.
What is Intersex?
- Intersex people are born with variations in their sex traits that don’t fit binary male or female expectations.
- At least 2% of all people are born with intersex traits.
- Intersex is not a gender or sexual orientation. Intersex people might identify as their sex assigned at birth—or not!