Queer Voices

LGBT History Month Icon Of The Day: Rodney Wilson

LGBT History Month would not exist without Rodney Wilson, a 29-year-old Missouri history high school teacher who came out to his class in 1994. After teaching about the Holocaust, Wilson shared that he could have been killed for being gay had he lived during that time.

Wilson's vision for the informative and celebratory month was to dedicate the teaching of LGBT history. His efforts garnered support from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Education Association and other groups. October was chosen because it already coincided with other notable LGBT events such as National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) and the 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

LGBT history is not mandated in national curricula and California remains the only state that educates its students on gay history. The Golden State's historic legislation was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) last July. Brown signed another monumental bill in September that would ban gay reparative and conversion therapies.

Each day in October, which is LGBT History Month, we'll be featuring a different LGBT icon. Check back tomorrow for a look at another incredible individual who changed history and visit our LGBT History Month Big News Page for more stories.