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Monday marked the first day of LGBT History Month, which dedicates October to celebrate the achievements of 31 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender icons.  This serves as a reminder to both the LGBT and wider communities of important roles LGBT people have taken in creating the social, legal, and political worlds we live in today.  Furthermore, it is an opportunity to be an ally showing support for the LGBT community as well as help end bullying, particularly among youth. October 15 – 19th is Ally Week, a week for students to identify, support, and celebrate Allies against anti-LGBT language and harassment.

Negative attitudes towards LGBT youth puts them at increased risk for experiences with violence than their peers.  Violence can include behaviors such as bullying, teasing, harassment, physical assault, and suicide-related behaviors.  However, the availability of LGBT school-based resources and support, including Gay-Straight Alliances, inclusive curriculum, supportive school staff and comprehensive anti-bullying policies, can provide a safer school climate.  The latest results of The 2011 National School Climate Survey from the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) found that there have been decreased levels of victimization and biased language and an increase in student access to LGBT-related school resources and support for the first time. This survey is the only national study that for over a decade has consistently examined the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students in America’s schools.

There is still much work that needs to be done to advance equality and end discriminatory behaviors and attitudes.  However, life is improving for LGBT Americans and their family and friends.  This month keep moving the agenda forward by celebrating and supporting the LGBT community.  With the election just around the corner, encourage others to vote for candidates who support equal rights for all.

I leave you with wise words from the one & only Honey Boo Boo Child: “Everybody’s a little gay.”

Further Reading
LGBT History Month Begins Today [glaad]
October is LGBT History Month [HRC’s blog]
LGBT History Month [Huffington Post]