Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Coming Out for LGBTQ+ History
by Leah Rauch
2021-10-11

This article shared 1326 times since Mon Oct 11, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day established in 1988 by members of the LGBTQ+ community to encourage people to stop hiding and be open about their identity. Coming out increases visibility of the LGBTQ+ community and in extension combats ignorance, prejudice, and biases. It also fuels feelings of solidarity within the LGBTQ+ community, which is important for a community more at risk of depression and suicidal ideation due to discrimination and prejudice.

It its essence, National Coming Out Day is about visibility. But encouraging LGBTQ+ individuals to come out, which many cannot do safely due to a variety of reasons, such as youth who are financially dependent on others or people living in states where discrimination is still legal, puts an enormous amount of pressure and responsibility on the community. One way in which everyone can participate in National Coming Out Day and increase visibility is through learning about LGBTQ+ history — the struggles, the victories, and the work still to be done.

Prior to joining the Education team at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, I worked at a former concentration camp in Germany. While introducing myself to visitors in my first days there, some people were subtly but obviously uncomfortable with the LGBTQ+ aspect of my identity. So I became an anonymous educator, talking about the experiences of people in the camp while excluding my own identity. I didn't want to be a distraction from the lessons to be learned there. Or so I reasoned. To be honest, I didn't want to feel others' discomfort in who I am.

But excluding part of my identity in certain contexts of my professional life felt wrong. LGBTQ+ individuals were murdered by the Nazi regime, and their stories are just as important as other victim groups. Thousands of people were arrested, imprisoned, and murdered in the very camp where I was working, simply for an aspect of their identity which I shared. I began to make it a habit of mentioning my wife and our child when introducing myself — and the rare cases of disapproval became more motivating than defeating.

In the act of sharing that aspect of my identity I found myself feeling more empowered. More importantly, I saw firsthand the impact it had on LGBTQ+ students and visitors. People began to approach me and share that they were also part of the LGBTQ+ community. Sometimes students confided that they hadn't yet come out to their classmates or teachers. They felt safe, heard, and connected.

In a place where LGBTQ+ people were once imprisoned, tortured, and murdered, people became inspired to embrace their authentic selves. Somehow, talking about the horrors of the Holocaust created a safe space to embrace that aspect of their identity. That's the transformative power of Holocaust education.

The Nazi regime divided people into categories, and while assigning those categories was often subjective and nonsensical — such as trying to determine how much "Jewish blood" someone had or categorizing someone as "homosexual" based on a denunciation from an employer citing rumors about an employee — these categories determined who lived and who died. But people are more than categories and not limited to one identity, and LGBTQ+ identity goes beyond victimhood.

LGBTQ+ history isn't limited to the pink and black triangles of Nazi Germany. LGBTQ+ people have always been victimized and marginalized, and continue to be to this day. This is an important part of our history. But it is only part of our history.

Our history is also the 6-day uprising at the Stonewall Inn in the summer of 1969. It's how LGBTQ+ activists used Stonewall to propel the fight for equality to a new era of marching, speaking out, and demanding change. From Cold War-era witch hunts and forced lobotomies to marriage equality and beyond, the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the United States illustrates the power of both the individual and the community to conquer seemingly insurmountable obstacles in the journey to create a more equitable society.

And the fight continues. While 21 states and the District of Columbia have full LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination protections, 29 states do not. This discrimination legally occurs in various aspects of daily life, such as housing, health care, education, and the use of public spaces including restaurants, businesses, and bathrooms. LGBTQ+ history is often erased from textbooks. Only 5 states currently mandate teaching LGBTQ+ history, while 39% of non-LGBTQ+ Americans are uncomfortable with their child learning a lesson on LGBTQ+ history in school.

LGBTQ+ history is Holocaust history. It's also American history. It's the history of our neighbors and our families.

It's a history about the LGBTQ+ community, but it's not only for the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ history is all of our history.

For National Coming Out Day, let's all rise up and learn our history, make it visible by educating others, and continue the fight for equality.

Leah Rauch is Director of Education at Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, where Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement is on view from October 17, 2021 to May 8, 2022.

[If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line.]


This article shared 1326 times since Mon Oct 11, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

WORLD Court rulings, Dutch apology, trans candidates win, Global Black Pride
2021-12-05
Botswana's Court of Appeal upheld a 2019 ruling that decriminalized gay sex, effectively striking off two sections of the penal code that had outlawed homosexuality, according to Reuters. Before the 2019 High Court ruling, which was ...


Gay News

AIDS Garden Chicago supporters, CDPH official commemorate World AIDS Day with event
2021-12-01
AIDS Garden Chicago supporters and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) commemorated the 34th annual World AIDS Day on Dec. 1 at the Belmont Yacht Club with a sneak preview of the garden. The 2.5-acre ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal to Justice Kavanaugh: Not in our name
2021-12-01
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — This morning, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, a case that has the potential to directly or effectively overturn landmark precedent protecting the right ...


Gay News

HRC encourages LGBTQ+ people to sign up for health insurance plans
2021-11-29
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is encouraging LGBTQ+ people to sign up for health insurance as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's Services (CMS) kicks off its LGBTQ+ Theme Week (Nov. 28 - ...


Gay News

World AIDS Day events on tap
2021-11-26
World AIDS Day takes place every year on Dec. 1. During this year—which marks the 40th anniversary since HIV was officially discovered—here are some of the events taking place (locally, regionally and nationally) on, before and ...


Gay News

BIPOC LGBTQ+-led orgs and spaces adapt to continued effects of COVID-19
2021-11-25
s the world continues to grapple with the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some BIPOC LGBTQ+-led bars and community-building organizations have adapted by implementing increased safety protocols and strengthening ...


Gay News

House of Chanel creates charitable foundation to promote community service across ballroom scene, beyond
2021-11-24
Almost 50 years after the founding of House of Chanel, the ballroom house is creating the Chanel Cares Charitable Foundation to give back to the community. The foundation will organize community engagement projects, including an upcoming ...


Gay News

LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois head stepping down
2021-11-24
LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois Director Jerome' Holston has publicly acknowledged that he will be leaving his post at the end of this month. In a statement, he said, "As my role as Director of ...


Gay News

NBJC commemorates Transgender Day of Remembrance in what may be deadliest year
2021-11-20
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Since January of 2021, at least 46 transgender or gender-nonconforming/non-binary people in the United States have had their lives taken from them - putting 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on ...


Gay News

Brave Space Alliance, partners plan Memorial Luncheon, Town Hall on trans violence
2021-11-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL — Nov. 19, 2021 — Brave Space Alliance and other community partner organizations will host a memorial luncheon and town hall to honor the memory of transgender people who have been murdered over the ...


Gay News

Spain to host Gay Games in 2026
2021-11-19
After months of preparations and a final presentation before the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) in the seaside city of Brighton East Sussex, Valencia, Spain was chosen to host the 2026 edition of the Gay Games. ...


Gay News

"Safe Schools For All" to help students take action against bullying
2021-11-17
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — As schools and school districts across the country face hostile protests of LGBTQI+ inclusive education, students who are experiencing discrimination, bullying and harassment based on their sexual orientation ...


Gay News

Word is Out: Queer Media Collaborative launched by LMA
2021-11-17
--From a press release - Local Media Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of Word Is Out: The Queer Media Collaborative, with initial funding from the Google News Initiative Innovation ...


Gay News

Word is Out: Queer Media Collaborative launched by LMA
2021-11-17
--From a press release - Local Media Foundation is pleased to announce the launch of Word Is Out: The Queer Media Collaborative, with initial funding from the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge. The Queer Media Collaborative (QMC) will focus on business ...


Gay News

Rebirth Garments, Roscoe's among HRC/Showtime grant recipients
2021-11-16
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Showtime announced the 20 recipients of "Queer to Stay: An LGBTQ+ Business Preservation Initiative" to support and uplift small businesses that focus on LGBTQ+ people of color, women and the ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.