How Do We Educate Our Youth About LGBT History? Is This Instagram Account The Answer?

Think back.  How did you learn about LGBT history? Oh wait, did you? What do you know? 

I honestly am not a great resource for LGBT history and facts.  During one of my recent trips to San Francisco, I was so impressed and in awe of my friend Bryan's knowledge of Harvey Milk, the history of the Castro, and all around gay cultural information. I felt a little ashamed that I did not know anything he was mentioning.  Did it drive me to educate myself on what I did not know?  Unfortunately, like many Americans, I do have a limited attention span and although LGBT history is an important subject, I did not mark then and there as a negative that needed to be fixed immediately. 

But how are our youth, newly out, and allies educated about QUEER history?  Has Hollywood produced any movies, television series, etc that have been wonderful educational tools?  Sure, some have been entertaining, while others have been crucified by critics … so the answer to the Hollywood question seems to be a unanimous Nn, Nothing, Zero, Zilch for offerings.

But are movies and tv the best way to reach the masses in 2017? Maybe not.

Enter the Instagram account @lgbt_history.  What better way to educate the masses than produce a series of bread crumbs on the Internet.

The historical account, created by partners Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown, posted its first picture on Instagram in January 2016. Now, a year and a half later, the account has more than 126,000 followers.   They are posting roughly 5 pictures a day from the time of Stonewall and before and up to the current era.  Reimer and Brown are making sure to represent every type of friend of Dorothy out there.  We are all a part of QUEER history.

Thanks guys for doing all of this great work.  We feel this is a great way to reach out to those that need to know our history, even me.

Here is a very brief sample of the pictures and info that can be found on @lgbt_history.





“AIDS KILLS…QUARANTINE THE QUEERS,” members of the ku klux klan and other white supremacist groups stage a white power rally in Lincoln Park, where Chicago’s 17th Annual Pride Parade ended, Chicago, Illinois, June 29, 1986. Photo by Mark Reinstein, © Alamy. . On the weekend of June 27, 1986, in the midst of a growing number of racially-motivated crimes and related incidents in Chicago, thousands of white supremacists emerged in the city to hold a number of “white power” rallies, some staged and some impromptu. . On Saturday, June 28, as the Los Angeles Times described, “the tumultuous, hot and humid afternoon began with an incident in which baseball-bat-wielding anti-klan demonstrators ambushed klan supporters as they grouped for their rally. It ended as 500 police officers, many in riot gear, stood between more than 1,000 whites shouting ‘Nigger, go home,’ and fewer than 40 black anti-apartheid demonstrators who were trying to march into [a] park.” . The following day, June 29, 1986, thirty-one years ago today, as approximately 600,000 people gathered to participate in Chicago’s 17th Annual Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade, about thirty members of the klan and a handful of members of a paramilitary organization calling themselves the “America First Committee” staged a rally in Lincoln Park, where the Pride Parade was set to end. The white supremacists were outnumbered by anti-klan protestors, whose chants frequently drowned out speeches attacking various underrepresented groups; the hooded demonstrators left the park approximately thirty minutes before the first Pride float arrived. . Later that evening, Mayor Harold Washington became Chicago’s first sitting mayor to address a Chicago Pride Rally. “As a black man who has suffered discrimination,” he said, “as part of a race of people who have suffered…I am not about to let discrimination exist as long as I’m mayor of this city.” #lgbthistory #HavePrideInHistory #Resist

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“There really hasn’t been that athlete to come out that’s still playing. And it’s been so long. I thought it would happen. I didn’t know if I thought it would happen in 10 years or 20 years, but [40] years? That doesn’t make any sense.” – David Kopay . Picture: David Kopay (b. June 28, 1942), c. 1968 . David Kopay, who turns seventy-five today, is a former American football running back, best-known for being the first former professional football player to come out as gay. . Kopay played in the National Football League (NFL) from 1964 to 1972, moving between the San Francisco 49ers (1964-67), the Detroit Lions (1968), Washington, D.C.’s football team (1969-70), the New Orleans Saints (1971), and the Green Bay Packers (1972). After retiring from the NFL, Kopay was considered for a number of coaching positions, though he believes he was snubbed by professional and college teams because he is gay. . During his time as a journeyman in D.C., Kopay met Jerry Smith, a running back, and the two had a brief affair. According to most sources, famed coach Vince Lombardi, who had a gay brother, made clear to the team that homophobia would not be tolerated. Despite this relatively safe environment, neither Smith nor Kopay fully acknowledged their sexuality while playing professionally; Smith, in fact, died of AIDS-related illness in 1986 without having come out. . In 1975, three years after his retirement, Kopay read a Washington Star piece about homosexuality in sports, and he read about the flood of hate mail sent in response (most of which had a common theme: gays did not exist in the NFL). So, on December 11, 1975, in an interview with The Star, Kopay came out as gay, marking the first time a former NFL player publicly acknowledged his homosexuality. Since then, only four other former NFL players have come out. . Kopay remains an outspoken advocate for queer athletes and is considered by many to be the parent of the modern movement for LGBTQ-visibility and inclusion in sports. #lgbthistory #HavePrideInHistory #Resist #DavidKopay

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What do you think?