October is LGBTI History Month—do you know your history?

October is LGBTI History Month—do you know your history?
Image: The launch of LGBTI History Month in Melbourne, 2016. Photo: Margot Fink/LGBTI History Month Australia/Facebook.

Written by Victor Bastos

Every month in our communities, we should stand tall with pride, showing self-respect and resilience alongside those we cherish and come together.

But October marks yet another celebration, as it is LGBTI History Month.

A chance to look at our history, and started to get worldwide recognition following the New York City riots of July 1969, when policemen raided the gay bar Stonewall Inn causing rampage and an uproar of LGBTI people from all over the city fighting back.

Fifty years have passed since the event, and awareness of the community has only grown larger and larger, with LGBTI History Month being celebrated in several different countries on different months.

In Australia, that month is October; it was celebrated for the first time in 2016, when Minus18 partnered with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives (ALGA) for a nationwide campaign. But according to Graham Willett, historian at ALGA, there is a lot about national LGBTI history that remains obscure for citizens of this great nation.

“Most of us [LGBTI] Australians are aware of the Stonewall riots, which marked the beginning of global awareness towards our community. But Australia has a history of its own regarding our fight for rights and equality, a story that is not passed along quite as often in this country.”

Willett is referring to the late 1960s movements organised in the country to fight for LGBTI rights; movements like the emergence of ACT Homosexual Reform Law Society, in Canberra, as well as C.A.M.P. (Campaign Against Moral Persecution) in Sydney. One of the most famous global crusades that came ashore at the time was also Daughters of Bilitis, a lesbian civil rights organization from the United States that made its way into Australia in 1970.

There is a lot to be learned and appreciated in our history, and October is as good a month as any to find out more about the hardships, obstacles and victories that led to where we are now and our role in progress for what comes next.

Do you know your history?

If not, a good place to start is the Australian Gay and Lesbian Archives.

Image: LGBTI+ Australian History Poster Campaign – Minus18

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