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Black History and Black LGBTQ History Should Be Commemorated Year Round

Each year, Black History Month is celebrated throughout the entirety of February. Individuals and organizations take to social media, news outlets, and public events (among other platforms and activations) to learn about, uplift, and recognize the historic contributions that Black folks have made to culture and society. 

Although the importance of annual observance dedicated to the celebration and commemoration of Black history shouldn’t be understated, especially considering the historical silencing and erasure of Black voices, it’s important to recognize that Black history should be shared and celebrated year round. 

The suppression of Black voices, histories, and stories is a problem of pressing importance. Even as Black history is shared year after year, public campaigns to deter teaching Black history, in all its various forms and in all the ways Black people show up across time, persist. 

And, where Black history is shared, where Black voices, histories, and stories are told and heard, other Black identities and existences are simultaneously silenced and erased. 

Black queer people have always existed in history. We have and always will take up space, find and create joy in the spaces that were historically denied to us. Though this might seem a redundant point to make to some, it’s important to assert our presence and existence, both the joy and the pain, the challenges and the triumphs, throughout time and history. Black LGBTQ+ voices sit at the intersection of numerous lines of oppression and are increasingly vulnerable to marginalization; failing to make this history audible and accessible will only perpetuate it. 

Despite a lack of education surrounding Black LGBTQ+ history specifically, Black LGBTQ+ historical figures, both past and present, have made enormous contributions in shaping our world as we know it. The impressions Black LGBTQ+ people have left, and continue to leave, are deep and significant, and influence and achievement of this size cannot be contained to a single month, nor should it be.

While we’ll be spotlighting numerous Black LGBTQ+ trail blazers this Black History Month, it’s important to remember that Black queer people exist, and should be celebrated, during all twelve months of the year. GLAAD’s Communities of Color and Media Department is committed to celebrating and elevating Black LGBTQ+ people and authentic, Black queer stories through the work we’ve done and will continue to do, in 2023 and beyond.

Below, we’ve compiled a list (that we expect will continue to grow with names and achievements) of Black LGBTQ+ people who have made and are in the process of making history, and whose work you should be supporting this year (and every year after that).

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