In California, we are fortunate that we have become the first state in the nation to require public schools to add lessons about our gay and trans history to social studies classes. Yet, this only happened after Governor Jerry Brown signed this landmark bill a few months ago created by LGBT Jewish leader Mark Leno (learn more).
Therefore because our LGBT history is not being taught and talked about much, the month of October has become LGBT History Month. The goal of this month is to send a consistent message about the vital importance of recognizing and exploring the role of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in American history.
Starting in 2006, a nonprofit group called Equality Forum has promoted 1 of 31 chosen LGBT History Month Hero’s or Icons each day in October. Throughout the short history of this tradition 18 Jewish leaders have been recognized. These LGBT Jewish Icons are: Susan Sontag z”l*, Annie Leibovitz, Leonard Bernstein z”l, Larry Kramer, Lowell Selvin, Barney Frank, David Geffen, Harvey Milk z”l, Maurice Sendak, Leslie Feinberg, Suze Orman, Joan Nestle, Magnus Hirschfeld z”l, Allen Ginsberg z”l, Tony Kushner, Harvey Fierstein, Stephen Sondheim and Aaron Copland z”l.
This year marks the 6th Anniversary of this work by the Equality Forum and today is the unveiling of the 19th Jewish LGBT leader to be listed. Today, on Coming Out Day, which falls annually on October 11, Los Angeles based Rabbi Denise Eger has been chosen as the LGBT hero or icon of the day. Her bio and story can be seen here.
Mazel Tov, Rabbi Eger! Thank you for being an inspiration to so many people throughout both our Jewish and LGBT worlds!
- LGBT History Month honors Ricky Martin, Wanda Sykes, Ryan Murphy, Pedro Zamora, 27 other icons (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- Will you join me and pledge to go purple in support of LGBT youth? (qjew.wordpress.com)
- LGBT History Month 2011 Website Launch (queerlandia.com)
- Philadelphia Freedom: The Dewey’s Lunch Counter Sit-In (queerty.com)
- Mayor Nutter to Kick Off Lgbt History Month (cityofphiladelphia.wordpress.com)
- gays have kids too (qjew.wordpress.com)
- October is LGBT history month (queeringthechurch.com)
- Top 10 LGBT Websites and Blogs (qjew.wordpress.com)
* There are several traditional Jewish honorifics for the dead which are used interchangeably when naming and speaking of the deceased. The most common honorific is translated from the Hebrew into English to mean, of blessed memory. In Hebrew this honorific is written זיכרונה לברכה\ זיכרונו לברכה (Hebrew transliteration is zikhrono livrakha/zikhronah livrakha). As seen frequently on this blog the use of this honor is further abbreviated to the first two letters of the Hebrew transliteration words, z”l or the first two letters of the Hebrew wordsז״ל.