Photo credit: Nadim Uddin, African Rainbow Family‘s Media and Communications Volunteer, 2021.

Just like the Bible, history is more like a proof of existence. History gives meaning to the present. History is a reference when we need to gain strength.

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Throughout the month of February each year, over the past few years, we celebrate the LGBTQ+ History Month and it is a time we remember all those who fought for our existence and freedom.

African Rainbow Family‘s Media and Communications Volunteer, Vanessa Nessakem Nwosu writes:

“Personally, it means a lot to me because knowing that my queerness exists past and present gives me so much relevance. It means that I am not alone and it gives me strength to become more of myself. Knowing history adds to my relevance, as a queer woman seeking asylum, it is from reading about women like Audre Lorde that I gain strength in who I am. I am not ashamed, I am empowered just by knowing my queerness exist past and present.”

Nadim Uddin, another African Rainbow Family‘s Media and Communications Volunteer, writes:

“LGBT History Month to me, is to remember those without rights. To remember how we got rights. Raise awareness about historical and current progress and challenges for LGBTQ+ people. To support those raising awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity, equality and diversity. To learn how to change the world. To remember how far we’ve come, even recently.

Nadim reminds us that Winston Churchill famously said: “History is written by the victors.”

The women I celebrate this month are Marsha P Johnson, Audre Lorde and Anne Lister. I choose these women because I see little parts of myself in them. I see the courage I am still hoping to build from them. I see my future in them. Learning from past heroes means looking at their strengths and finding ways to make yours. I want to be outspoken and bold as Marsha. I want to be confident and be a warrior like Audre and I want to live openly and document all my Sapphic encounters just like Anne Lister.” Vanessa continues.

Marsha P Johnson. Photo credit: NBC New

“History isn’t something you look back at and say it was inevitable, it happens because people make decisions that are sometimes very impulsive and of the moment, but those moments are cumulative realities.” Marsha P Johnson.

Audre Lorde. Photo credit: BBC 3 Free Thinking.

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” -Audre Lorde.

Anne Lister Photo Credit: bridgemanimages 

“I know my own heart and understand my fellow man. But I am made unlike anyone I have ever met. I dare to say I am like no one in the whole world.” Anne Lister.

The above are my favourite quotes from my heroes and I hope it speaks to you. We can only write our history if we speak up. Document your life, do not be erased,do not be silent. For every closeted person there is an out person who lives an exemplary life for you to learn from. It doesn’t mean you have to come out, it means that you are not alone and you can be happy. This is what LGBT history means to me. Vanessa says.

Happy LGBTQ+ History Month, 2021.

Ends.

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