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Although the ongoing LGBT History Month is taking place four months after the much more prominent, party-centered Pride Month, October is no less important to the LGBTQ+ community.
In fact, during October, LGBT History Month is highlighting one prominent person in the LGBTQ+ community every day. Get to know six of these key LGBT History Month figures below.
1. Gladys Bentley
During the Harlem Renaissance, Gladys Bentley quickly emerged as blues music’s preeminent lesbian icon. Bentley rapidly accrued a fanbase thanks to her raunchy lyrics and overt cross-dressing during a period – she died in 1960, over a decade before the American Psychological Association officially stopped including homosexuality in its list of mental illnesses – when the LGBTQ+ community was severely marginalized. Although the community has made immense strides toward full mainstream acceptance since Bentley’s era, if she became famous in today’s world, she might still be among the most fearless LGBTQ+ out there.
2. Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein transitioned genders in 1986, far before transgender issues were so much as discussed in the mainstream media. Although transgender people still face immense marginalization around the world today, Bornstein’s transition during the hostilities of the Reagan era made her an LGBTQ+ icon just as strongly as her writing and acting did. Younger LGBTQ+ people might know Bornstein best as a cast member of the E! reality TV show I Am Cait about prominent transgender figure Caitlyn Jenner.
3. Pete Buttigieg
Arguably the most well-known figure on this list, Pete Buttigieg is best known for his ongoing presidential campaign. If Buttigieg were to become President of the United States, he would be the first openly gay man in the position. He might have a shot – in a Democratic primary field that has hovered around a whopping 20 candidates, Buttigieg has frequently ranked just below longtime Democratic stars such as Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren in national polling.
4. Brandi Carlile
Americana artist Brandi Carlile is one of relatively few out lesbian musicians within her genre. She’s also among the most prominent musicians in her genre, with three Grammy Awards under her belt. She often uses her talent to positive ends, sometimes releasing benefit albums and hosting performances for which all proceeds go to several charities. She even co-created the Looking Out Foundation, which has awarded grants to leading pro-LGBTQ+ organization the Human Rights Campaign.
5. Cheryl Dunye
Cheryl Dunye is a black lesbian woman whose vast body of creative output tends to focus on the complexities of being a black lesbian woman. Dunye is especially well-known for her HBO documentary Stranger Inside, which detailed life in the prison system for black lesbian women. She is currently working on a film adaption of the Jason Mott novel The Wonder of All Things.
6. Emma González
Before she survived the February 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, Emma González was an ordinary student. After, she became an activist. González is among the many Stoneman Douglas survivors who launched the Never Again MSD political action committee that pushes for gun control legislation. González, a bisexual woman, is among the youngest honorees of LGBT History Month.
Which LGBTQ+ figures would you like to see honored during LGBT History Month? Sound off in the comments!