LGBT History Month kicks off with a dedication of Barbara Gittings Way today in the Gayborhood. At 12:30 p.m., the intersection at 13th and Locust Street will be named for the LGBT rights pioneer. It’s fitting to honor Gittings, a woman who spent much of her life in Philadelphia and who’s considered to be the “mother of the LGBT civil rights movement.” Gittings helped Frank Kameny and others launch the annual reminders at Independence Hall, considered to be among the first gay rights protests in the country. She also established LGBT reading materials in public libraries.
Today’s event will feature several special guests, including City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, City Councilman Mark Squilla and the Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus, as well as others from the community.
“This is the 7th anniversary of LGBT History Month,” says Malcolm Lazin, the founder of LGBT History Month and executive director of Equality Forum. “There are a total of 217 Icons that inspire pride in our heroes and our impressive national and international accomplishments.” Included among the 2012 icons are “America the Beautiful” songwriter Katharine Lee Bates; Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes; transgender pioneer Christine Jorgensen; actors Jodie Foster, Marlene Dietrich and Chris Colfer; and entertainer RuPaul.
Each day this month, a different icon will be spotlighted with a video, biography, bibliography, downloadable images and other educational resources for free. The federal government has been recognizing LGBT History Month for the past two years, and last year, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi issued an official proclamation. And just last month, the school board of Broward County, Fl., became the first to pass a resolution in support of LGBT History Month. It’s the sixth largest school district in the nation.