Teaching LGBTQ+ history in schools is vital to increased acceptance and understanding of the community. October, which just passed, is LGBTQ+ history month; so, right now is a perfect opportunity to learn about the history of the community. This history is not well known because, in most schools, it is not a part of the curriculum. Knowledge of LGBTQ+ history will lead to heightened levels of acceptance and inclusiveness of the community. Here are a few of the important moments in LGBTQ+ history.

Stonewall Riots

The first major event in the LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement in North America was the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969. The triggering event of this riot was a police raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar. An officer hit a lesbian in the head while arresting her, this caused the other customers to begin attacking the police officers. This police raid became a full-blown riot quickly and lasted six days. The Stonewall riots were in response to the police brutality the LGBTQ+ community faced during this time; it was these riots which were one of the events that kick-started the LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement.

LGBTQ+ Civil Rights Movement

This movement began in the late 1960s, around the time of the Stonewall Riots. The goal of the movement was to fight for LGBTQ+ people’s rights; this was a local movement that eventually gained traction nation-wide. In the 1970s, this movement gained even more traction as a result of the Stonewall Riots. On the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, people in New York marched in remembrance and unity. This event has continued in the form of ‘pride month’ in June every year. Protesting became more common during these years, and all the work of these LGBTQ+ people paid off with the increased acceptance achieved. There were many small and large victories achieved during these years because of this movement; this includes homosexuality being removed from the American Psychologist Association’s list of mental illnesses, openly LGBTQ+ people being elected in government, and many others.

HIV/AIDS Epidemic

HIV is a virus spread through certain bodily fluids which can lead to AIDS, the last stage of an HIV infection. There is yet to be an effective cure for this illness. Scientists have found that a type of chimpanzee in Central Africa was most likely the source of the illness and when transmitted to humans, became HIV. Although gay men are at a higher risk of HIV, it can affect anyone. The HIV and AIDS epidemic started in the early 1980s when many gay men began dying from this illness; by the end of 1981, there were 337 reported cases of what is now known as HIV and 130 deaths out of all the reported cases. In 1982, the first community-based AIDS service provider, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), was founded in New York City. In the next few years, awareness of the illness increased; more organizations and activist groups began talking about HIV and AIDS, specialized clinics began opening, and it became a national and worldwide recognized issue. By 1989, there were 100,000 reported cases in the United States alone; these statistics decreased over the years as more help and treatments became available. Here is more information about HIV and AIDS.

These are only a few major events in LGBTQ+ history; the vast history of the community needs to be taught in schools. “It is interesting to hear about another perspective, so more people know about marginalized groups. People may become more accepting, too,” said members of the LGBTQ+ club.

A few states in America have already passed laws that require LGBTQ+ history to be included in school curriculum, California being one of the first states and Illinois the most recent. More knowledge of this history will increase understanding, acceptance, and inclusiveness of the community.

Photos courtesy of vintag.es, The Harvard Gazette, and mashable.com