By Allison Miller
October is the history month for the LGBTQ+ community! This month coincides with National Coming Out Day which is on October Eleventh. Throughout October, the LGBT+ community takes time to look back on the most influential and important events that have taken place in its history through the ages. Looking back on these events not only educates people about those that have come before and sacrificed things in order for the betterment of their descendants, but it gives a good view of just how much has happened for and against those in the community even in recent years. This commemorative event began as just lesbian and gay history month in 1994 but has since evolved into including everyone that falls into the LGBTQ+ circle as the group itself has evolved.
One of the first recorded same-sex couples was dated back to 2450 BCE in Egypt, where two men were buried in the same tomb with an inscription that read “Joined in life, joined in death.” These two were considered the first couple to be recognized by their entire society as together, though in the years to come throughout the Greek and Roman civilizations, there was high acceptance and commonality to same-sex couples in everyday life.
Greek society highly valued the strength of relationships between male couples, even creating an army of 150 couples of only men not only for their physical valor and commitment to the fight but also because of their tight-knit relationships. Another notable Greek person that affected the LGBTQ+ history was the poet Sappho, who wrote many poems about her love of women, eventually leading to the term “sapphic,” which is another term used to refer to lesbians.
As time progressed, opposition grew and prosecuted those who chose to publicly, or even privately, be true to their romantic interests, the first of which was established in 1432, named the “Night Officials.” Over the course of the next seventy years, those who ran the group arrested over ten thousand men and entirely convicted around two thousand who never left the prisons they established. However, they were only focused on the sabotage of gay men. In fact, the first known conviction for lesbian activity did not come to pass until 1649.
The first official definition of homosexuality was written into the dictionary in 1749, not only giving it an official outline, but also a bit of a defense. The man who wrote it, Thomas Cannon, argued that maybe there were things about it that did not actually require the extreme persecution that society was using at the time.
As the years went on, steps began to be taken to lessen the oppression of those who were anything other than heterosexual, beginning with the small change in 1779 where Thomas Jefferson revised Virginia law so that being gay was no longer punished by death, but only by mutilation, but these events eventually lead to the Stonewall Riots and Pride Parades that are now known and talked about frequently by the community.
Though the LGBTQ+ faction has faced countless hardships throughout the course of its growth, there were still some points where the light broke through for it. With the legalization of gay marriage in 2015 in the United States, the world is making progress in the right direction, no matter how many put their hate in the way.