We all know about Pride Month – the time when the world comes together to celebrate the freedom to be whoever you want to be. But did you know that there are dozens of other LGBTQ+ holidays that take place throughout the year (not just in June)?
Transgender Day of Visibility (March 31)International Pink Day (the second Wednesday of April), The Day of Silence (the second Friday of April), Harvey Milk Day (May 22), and National Coming Out Day (October 11) – these are just a few examples of LGBTQ+ holidays that you might want to choose to celebrate.
Below you will find more information about some of the most meaningful holidays.
What Are the LGBTQ Holidays?
No Name-Calling Week, the third week of January
Though No Name-Calling Week has been only recently introduced (in 2004), it is an incredibly important initiative that is focused on putting an end to any forms of bullying in school.
During the week, students, teachers, and the public are being educated on the harms of name-calling and on the long-term effects of bullying.
Every fifth student in their teens has been bullied because of their appearance, orientation, or behavior, and verbal harassment is the most common form of bullying.
The week was created by K-12 teachers and students and is sponsored by G.L.S.E.N.
National Freedom to Marry Day – February 12
Same-sex marriage has been legally recognized in all fifty states since 2015. However, the majority of countries around the world still do not allow couples to tie the knot if they are not of the opposite gender.
The unofficial holiday has been celebrated since 1999. Its main aim is to promote equal rights to marriage to all people.
Many couples decide to exchange their vows on February 12 to celebrate their love and freedom to love.
Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week – the week after Valentine’s Day
While some find Valentine’s Day to be the most romantic holiday of the year, there are people who do not experience romantic attraction at all. And they deserve to be recognized as well.
During the third week of February, a series of workshops, events, and campaigns take place to highlight the challenges that are typically faced by those on the aromantic spectrum.
Cis heteronormativity has made many of us believe that a romantic relationship should be the end goal.
But not everyone wants (and has to) seek a romantic partner in their life. Such individuals can lead a fulfilling life without the need for a romantic connection, and other people need to recognize that instead of saying such phrases as ‘you just haven’t met the right person yet’ and ‘this is not normal’.
Transgender Day of Visibility – March 31
It is a day to show your support for the trans community. This is not a day for mourning, like the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The 31st of March is focused on spreading knowledge of the trans community and fighting transphobia.
The holiday was created in 2010 to highlight the community in a positive light. It is more of an ‘education’ day when you are encouraged to have discussions and create direct actions about the trans community.
The International Pink – the second Wednesday of April
On this day, people all across the globe are encouraged to wear pink to show their solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Wearing this color on the second Wednesday of April represents courage, acceptance, inclusivity, and kindness.
It all started in 2007 when two straight high school students saw how a gay student was being harassed for wearing a pink polo shirt. They bought 50 pink shirts and shared their idea online with their classmates.
On the next day, hundreds of teenagers decided to join the cause against homophobic bullying and showed up to school wearing pink clothes.
Day of Silence – the second Friday of April
In 1996, a University of Virginia student, Maria Pulezzi, created the Day of Silence. She felt like the LGBTQ+ youth were always ignored and silenced by administrators and parents, so Maria thought that if the whole university stayed silent for the day, people couldn’t help but notice it.
In 1997, the day went national, with over 100 institutions participating. Today, over 10,000 different establishments officially take part in the Day of Silence. Some students choose to put Xs on their hands or wear tape over their mouths to drive even more attention to the cause.
The silence is usually broken at the end of the day when all the participants end their vow together at a speaking event or a rally.
Harvey Milk Day – May 22
Each year on May 22, the LGBTQ+ community and allies honor the life and legacy of Harvey Milk – a leader of the American Civil Rights Movement and the first openly gay politician in the Golden State.
Milk would advocate for all minorities. He believed in safe neighborhoods and supported equal rights for everyone. After holding office for just one year, he was assassinated by a political rival in 1978.
Harvey Milk Day became an official holiday in 2009 when the then-governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed it into law.
June – Pride Month
The month-long celebration includes thousands of parades, rallies, marches, and other events all around the world.
Back in 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village. This resulted in bar staff, patrons, and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street (Christopher Street Day on the 28th of June is the forerunner of the Gay Pride Day).
Pride Month was presumably started by Brenda Howard who organized the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade exactly a year after the Stonewall Riots. Eventually, this morphed into the New York City Pride March and very soon after that – into similar marches and parades across the globe.
International Drag Day – July 16
This annual event was created to celebrate the drag culture and to give it more exposure. During this day, the LGBTQ+ community and allies honor the culture and art of drag performance and recognize the contributions of the artists to the community.
Celebrate Bisexuality Day (Bi Visibility Day) – September 23
Bi Visibility Day is part of the Bisexual Awareness Week and its main aim is to remind people about the history and the struggles that have been and are still being faced by the bisexual community.
The holiday was first officially observed in South Africa, where Michael Page, Wendy Curry, and Gigi Raven Wilbur organized it. They were especially worried about the fact that bisexual identity is often being brushed aside by members of both the straight and LGBTQ+ communities. So, Bi Visibility Day became a way to demand respect and recognition for bisexuals (who have historically often been an ignored group).
LGBTQ+ History Month
The month-long celebration is mainly about bringing extraordinary figures from the community into the spotlight. It also allows the opportunity to learn about what factors and measures will be successful providing role models who would be able to represent and address the issues faced by LGBTQ+ individuals.
National Coming Out Day – October 11
The holiday is celebrated on the 11th of October in the USA and on the 12th in some other countries. It is an annual LGBTQ+ awareness day that is dedicated to highlighting the challenges that people face when coming out.
It’s also the perfect time to celebrate the individuals who have taken the courageous step.
Transgender Day of Remembrance – November 20
Transgender Day was founded in 1999 in order to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman.
This holiday is meant to commemorate and honor those who face discrimination and stigma across the nation. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing hatred and violence, as well as a call to action for greater awareness, acceptance, and ultimately, protection of the community.
World AIDS Day – December 1
There are nearly 600,000 gay and bisexual men living with HIV, representing over half of all the people with HIV in the United States.
On the first of December, members of the community and their allies are encouraged to show support to people living with the virus and commemorate the millions who have been lost.
The main goal of World AIDS Day is to educate the population and to work towards finally ending the epidemic.
Human Rights Day – December 10
On this day in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.
The holiday provides an opportunity for people to promote and protect the human rights of all individuals regardless of their identity factors and to reflect on the progress that has already been made.
It is challenging to say how many LGBTQ+ holidays there are as new ones keep emerging every single year. And that is amazing!
Remember that you do not have to wait for a special day to acknowledge the community or commemorate its members. And no matter how many holidays there are, we should all continue fighting for diversity, equality, and acceptance every single day.