In 1994, Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of gay and lesbian history, and gathered other teachers and community leaders. They selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (October 11), occur that month.
Gay and Lesbian History Month was endorsed by GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association and other national organizations.
In 2006 Equality Forum assumed responsibility for providing content, promotion and resources for LGBT History Month. LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender Icons. Each day in October, a new LGBT Icon is featured.
Here at Hotspots, we will feature 2 a week, but to see one every day you can go to: Lgbthistorymonth.com.
January 19, 1982
Pete Buttigieg is the first openly gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana. In 2019 he became the second openly gay major-party U.S. presidential candidate and the first married gay candidate. At age 37, he is also the youngest person to run for the U.S. presidency.
An only child, Buttigieg was born and raised in South Bend. His father, who died in January 2019, emigrated from the Mediterranean island of Malta. Both his parents taught at the University of Notre Dame.
Buttigieg graduated valedictorian of his high school. The class voted him “most likely to become president.” In his senior year, he won the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Essay Contest for his composition on the political integrity of then-Congressman Bernie Sanders.
Buttigieg attended Harvard University, where he was elected student president of the esteemed Harvard Institute of Politics and served as a board member of the Harvard College Democrats. He graduated in 2005, earning a prestigious Rhodes scholarship. Buttigieg received his master’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University in 2007. He speaks eight languages, including Maltese, Norwegian, Arabic and French.
After Oxford, Buttigieg worked for three years at McKinsey & Company, the No. 1 global management consulting firm. During that time, he joined the U.S. Navy Reserve.
In 2010 Buttigieg ran as the Democratic nominee for Indiana state treasurer but was defeated by the Republican incumbent. One year later, he successfully ran for mayor of South Bend, winning a landslide victory with three quarters of the vote. At age 29, he became the second-youngest mayor in the city’s history and the youngest mayor of a U.S. city of 100,000 or more. Known affectionately as “Mayor Pete,” his popular programs have spurred significant economic growth. In 2013 GovFresh named him mayor of the year, alongside Mayor Bloomberg of New York.
In his fourth year in office, Buttigieg was called to active duty by the Navy. A lieutenant, he served as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan for six months in 2014. In 2015 South Bend reelected him with an overwhelming 80% of the vote. In June 2015, during discussions on state legislation that would have permitted LGBT discrimination, Buttigieg came out as gay in a personal essay that appeared in the South Bend Tribune.
In April 2019, Buttigieg formally announced his Democratic presidential candidacy. If elected, he would become the first openly gay president of the United States.
Buttigieg is a practicing Episcopalian. He married Chasten Glezman, a high school teacher, in June 2018. The couple lives in the neighborhood where Buttigieg grew up.
November 11, 1999
At age 18, Emma González became a prominent gun control advocate after surviving the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018, in Parkland, Florida. As a leader of the #NeverAgain Movement, her activism gave rise to nationwide demonstrations and helped trigger a monumental shift in U.S. anti-gun initiatives.
The daughter of a Cuban immigrant, González was raised in Parkland. She identifies as bisexual and served as president of her high school gay-straight alliance. As a senior, González survived the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history. The massacre left 17 students and staff member’s dead and 17 others injured.
Just three days after the carnage, González courageously transformed her anguish into activism. She delivered an impassioned speech at a gun control rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, calling “B.S.” on politicians and the NRA. “If all our government and president can do is send thoughts and prayers,” she declared, “then it’s time for victims to be the change that we need to see.” The speech was broadcast nationally and went viral on social media.
In the following weeks, González became one of the most visible and outspoken student activists to emerge from the Parkland tragedy. As a leader and founding member of the student gun control advocacy group Never Again MSD—alongside Cameron Kasky, David Hogg and several others—González spoke out for gun reform during multiple high-profile media appearances. She helped organize March for Our Lives, a series of demonstrations that mobilized hundreds of thousands of protestors across the nation and around the world.
As a direct response to the Never Again Movement, the Florida Legislature passed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Florida High School Public Safety Act, which established a new set of gun restrictions. It marked the first time in 30 years that the state had passed gun control measures. On March 9, 2018, when the governor signed the bill into law, he said, “To the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, you made your voices heard. You didn’t let up and you fought until there was change.”
During the summer of 2018, González traveled the country holding rallies for stronger gun control and to encourage young people to vote in the midterm elections. In the 18 months following the Parkland shooting, more than 65 new gun violence prevention measures passed in the United States.
González entered the New College of Florida in the fall of 2018.