In 1994, a high school history teacher from St. Louis named Rodney Wilson suggested that students needed a month to study LGBT history, like they studied African American history in February and women’s history in March. Within a year, LGBT History month was being celebrated across the country in October.
Twenty-two years later, we are still celebrating LGBT history month every October by learning the history of the community and honoring those people who have made strides for LGBT rights.
One way that people are fighting for LGBT rights is with petitions.
Karen Andresen, for example, petitioned the Boy Scouts of America after her son was denied his Eagle Scout award because he was openly gay. With the support of nearly 480,000 people, she helped overturn the organization’s ban on gay scouts.
Jacob Rudolph, a gay teen from New Jersey, successfully petitioned Governor Chris Christie to support a bill that would protect young people from dangerous anti-gay conversion therapy.
Jessica Gerson petitioned on behalf of her friend Esther Garatie, a Marine veteran wounded in service, who was harassed by a nurse at the Dallas VA Medical Center because she’s gay. The petition incited an investigation by the VA and ultimately led to the nurse’s retirement.
After Jewlyes Gutierrez, a 16-year-old transgender teen, defended herself against bullies and was the only student charged with battery, her sister successfully petitioned to have the charges dropped.
These are just a few examples of people who have made strides for LGBT rights in the past few years. Many more are still working to make change around the world, including the five below.
5 LGBT Petitions Trying to Make History Right Now
The National Parks Conservation Association wants to see the Stonewall Inn in New York City dedicated as a national park for its role in the Gay Rights movement, much like Seneca Falls and Selma have been dedicated as national parks for their roles in the suffrage and civil right movements.
Greg Louganis won two gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and was a diving superstar. But, at the time, General Mills said that Louganis did not meet their “wholesome demographics” to be put on a Wheaties box. Now, one woman is asking that the cereal company right that wrong, and put Louganis on a Wheaties box.
More than 49,000 men – including Alan Turing, pioneering computer scientist and cryptanalyst, who’s story was depicted in The Imitation Game – were convicted under a UK “gross indecency” law for engaging in consensual same-sex relationships. The law was repealed in 2003 and now people are asking the British government to pardon those men who were wrongfully imprisoned or endured harmful punishments like Turing, who was pardoned in 2013.
Margie Winters, the former Director of Religious Education at Waldron Mercy Academy, was fired over the summer for her same sex marriage to her partner, Andrea. Now they’re asking Pope Francis to put an end to firing of LGBT church workers and to extend participation rights to LGBT persons, regardless of their marital status.
Up until recently in Uganda, a gay person could receive the death penalty for being gay. International pressure changed that, but gay people can still be imprisoned for life for being who they are. Now, people are asking the Pope to condemn this kind of homophobic violence in Uganda and other countries as against the teachings of the church.
Want to help push LGBT rights forward? Sign one of the petitions above or start your own.