Intersex Day of Remembrance, also known as Intersex Solidarity Day, is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight issues faced by intersex people. It marks the birthday of Herculine Barbin, a French intersex person whose memoirs were later published by Michel Foucault in Herculine Barbin: Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth-century French Hermaphrodite.
While Intersex Awareness Day on October 26 appears to be celebrated more in English-speaking countries, particularly in North America, Intersex Day of Remembrance has been marked mostly in Europe. Some countries, such as Australia and South Africa, mark both events and the days between as “14 days of intersex”.
The event appears to have begun on November 8, 2005, as Intersex Solidarity Day, following an invitation issued by Joëlle-Circé Laramée, then Canadian spokeswoman for Organisation Intersex International. The Organisation invited organisations and groups and individuals to show solidarity by marking: the life of Herculine Barbin, or discussing intersex genital mutilation, “the violence of the binary sex and gender system” and/or “the sexism implicit within the binary construct of sex and gender”.
Intersex Awareness Day is an internationally observed civil awareness day designed to highlight the challenges faced by intersex people. The event marks the first public demonstration by intersex people in North America. On October 26, 1996, intersex activists from Intersex Society of North America (carrying the sign “Hermaphrodites With Attitude”) and allies from Transexual Menace demonstrated in Boston, outside the venue where the American Academy of Pediatrics was holding its annual conference. Intersex Awareness Day is an international day of grass-roots action to end shame, secrecy and unwanted genital cosmetic surgeries on intersex children.
Asexual Awareness Week is an international campaign that seeks to educate about asexual, aromantic, demisexual, and grey-asexual experiences and to create materials that are accessible to our community and our allies around the world.
In early October 2010, Canadian teenager Brittany McMillan promulgated the observance of a new commemoration called Spirit Day, the first observance of which took place on October 20, 2010; it now however takes place on October 17. On this day people wear the color purple to show support for LGBT youth who are victims of bullying. Promoted by GLAAD, many Hollywood celebrities wore purple on this day to show their support of this cause, and many websites added a prominent purple shade to their design. The name Spirit Day comes from the purple stripe of the Rainbow flag, whose creator Gilbert Baker defined it as “representing ‘spirit’”. The observance was inaugurated in response to a rash of widely publicized bullying-related suicides of gay school students in 2010, including that of Tyler Clementi. More than 1.6 million Facebook users signed up for the event globally.
Matthew Shepard was taken from this world to soon. His journey will never be forgotten. On the date of his passing we honer him and others who have been taken from us.
Matthew Wayne Shepard (December 1, 1976 – October 12, 1998) was an American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998. He was taken by rescuers to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he died six days later from severe head injuries.
Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were arrested shortly after the attack and charged with first-degree murder following Shepard’s death. Significant media coverage was given to the killing and to what role Shepard’s sexual orientation played as a motive in the commission of the crime. The prosecutor argued that McKinney’s murder of Shepard was premeditated and driven by greed. McKinney’s defense counsel countered that he had intended only to rob Shepard but had killed him in a rage when Shepard made a sexual advance toward him. McKinney’s girlfriend told police that he had been motivated by anti-gay sentiment but later recanted her statement, saying that she had lied because she thought it would help him. Both McKinney and Henderson were convicted of the murder, and each received two consecutive life sentences.
Shepard’s murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation at the state and federal levels. In October 2009, the United States Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (commonly the “Matthew Shepard Act” or “Shepard/Byrd Act” for short), and on October 28, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the legislation into law. Following her son’s murder, Judy Shepard became a prominent LGBT rights activist and established the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Shepard’s death inspired films, novels, plays, songs, and other works.
National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as a gender or sexual minority. The day is observed annually by members of the LGBT community and allies on October 11. NCOD was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg, a psychologist from New Mexico and founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O’Leary, an openly gay political leader from Los Angeles and then head of the National Gay Rights Advocates. The date of October 11 was chosen because it was the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is observed during October in the United States, to include National Coming Out Day on October 11. In the United Kingdom, it is observed during February, to coincide with a major celebration of the 2005 abolition of Section 28.
Celebrate Bisexuality Day is observed on September 23 by members of the bisexual community and their supporters. This day is a call for the bisexual community, their friends and supporters to recognize and celebrate bisexuality, bisexual history, bisexual community and culture, and all the bisexual people in their lives. First observed in 1999, Celebrate Bisexuality Day is the brainchild of three United States bisexual rights activists: Wendy Curry of Maine, Michael Page of Florida, and Gigi Raven Wilbur of Texas.
International Drag Day is to celebrate the greatness and wonder that is Drag Artists from every corner of the planet. Created by Adam Stewart in 2009, International Drag Day was set up to give Drag Artists a well-deserved chance to shine and be celebrated for everything they give to gay life and culture.
The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay community against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are widely considered to constitute the single most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States.