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LGBT History Month honors Ricky Martin, Wanda Sykes, Ryan Murphy, Pedro Zamora, 27 other icons

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Coinciding with National Coming Out Day on Tuesday, Philadelphia-based Equality Forum is hosting its annual LGBT History Month with video profiles of American gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender icons.

"We're the only minority worldwide that's not taught history at home, in school or religious institutions," said Malcolm Lazin, Equality Forum's founder and executive director.

Icons profiled throughout October this year include singer Ricky Martin, comic Wanda Sykes, Glee creator Ryan Murphy (a one-time Miami Herald intern) and Cuban-American AIDS activist Pedro Zamora, who grew up in Miami and died at 22 in 1994.

A group of educators began Gay History Month during the mid 1990s, but "no one really took ownership of it," Lazin said. "We decided to take responsibility for LGBT History Month."

Five years ago, Equality Forum launched an online history program and 20 organizations linked to its website. Last year, about 700 groups linked, Lazin said.

Lazin called LGBT History Month "empowering and life affirming."

"Like every group that’s been marginalized, it really helps to make the case why we should take real pride in ourselves and our community," he said.

Nearly 200 LGBT icons have been profiled since 2006. (To view the complete list of LGBT History Month icons, click here.)

This year, three of the icons are transgender and four are youths, including Daniel Hernandez, the Congressional intern who in January helped save the life of shooting victim U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The program also profiles gay icons of the past.

Diagnosed with HIV at age 17, Pedro Zamora had been an AIDS activist for several years in Miami when he sent a letter to producers of MTV's The Real World, asking to be on the show.

Producers chose him to co-star during 1994's season three in San Francisco. Midway through the season, Zamora's health suddenly declined and he died shortly after.

"He was a hugely important person. He was one of the very first, out folks who identified as HIV positive," Lazin said. "Real World was hugely important in changing attitudes. Pedro became a part of the family. He was among the very first to be out as a gay person. He was bright and engaging and charming and amazing. A remarkable spokesperson."


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"We're the only minority worldwide that's not taught history at home, in school or religious institutions," said Malcolm Lazin

Someone please explain to me what that means.


Most African-American, Jewish, Cuban (et al.) children are taught their histories at home, in school, in church or synagogue.

Gay children are usually not taught about gay history in any of those places.


Stay in your closets~!

All of these people, and many many other siners, are going to hell, if they don't repent! And, that is the case, whether you or they believe it or not!

Read the history of gays in the Bible. It tells you exactly what the history is and what the future for gays will be. Hell bound, and they will burn in the lake of fire forever. That is what the future for gays is, just like all other people who have not repented.

Quit misquoting the Bible. Do you speak ancient Greek, Hebrew, or Latin? I doubt it. If you did, you would know most gay references are taken out of context, or totaly misquoted.

Perhaps you speak Greek, Hebrew and/or Latin, David.I don't speak any of those fine languages. However, that doesn't change what is. God frowns on homosexuality. Do you think all of the quotes to that effect are wrong?

To all whom this may concern,
If you have an issue with homosexuality, or claim your god or your holy book has such an issue, then why are you on a gay site? There are plenty of sites that you can rant with other people who care to listen to your propaganda. And for the record, this is a free country. Your god and your holy book are supposed to be separate from the law. And the law also grants us the rights to our freedoms, freedoms you have no right to infringe on. So I recommend you move your hateful words and perspectives elsewhere, as we stand for love in all its colors, shades, and kinds.
And if you want to spit the Bible at people, maybe you should read what Jesus says. To remind you, he preaches love and tolerance of all people. Not once does Jesus say anything about sexuality. So if you're going to call yourself a Christian, then maybe you should consider following what Christianity was designed to be, the following of Jesus Christ and his message. Otherwise, you're just a hypocrite.
Regardless, allow those who wish to celebrate the lives of people who have made an impact on our community. These people have done amazing things to liberate the LGBTQ community from your hateful reign.
I hope for your sake you can grow to learn how to love and accept people as they are and not be so judgmental. Otherwise, I'll see you in Hell.

They omitted honoring Michael Jackson, who did so much for AIDS and for young boys.

We got to these Godforsaken gay site, because in on The Herald. No thing like a bunch of pinkos coming out of the closet, ther is a big maket for ot.

BTW. Shakespeare was gay.

The Bible say's that all sinners will go to hell not just gay folks. I'm a sinner and I respect gay individuals... I don't think I'll ever taste the rainbow because that's not my style- everyone makes there own choices in life and all I have to say is God bless all gays and non-gays!

Here's the deal everyone. Just love one another and focus on your own stuff. Nobody is perfect everyone has an equal amount of sh*t to deal with. Tend to and respect your own garden. Once I can see you are able to do this, I will invite you into mine. It's as simple as that.

We have come a long way. It's been a very long, dark winding road.
Happily, the rainbow showed us the way. May God Bless Us All.

Much Love and Peace

no soy gay, pero soy una hija,soy madre,hermana y amiga,amo a DIOS y lo sirvo con y por amor,y Dios nos creo a todos a todos con el mismo amor y la misma ilucion,es muy facil jusgar lo asemos muy facil,sin pensar en que tenemos hijos y familias,y que los gay son hombres y mujeres buenos de gran corazon y amor a su familia que sufren y que dia a dia tienen que enfrentarse con la crueldad de los hombres que se llaman cristianos y que solo son capases de servir a los que formam parte de sus iglesias o sus grupos religiosos es como si la salvacion y el reino de DIOS fuera solo para los cristianos.todos seremos examinados por el AMOR.soy hermana de Pedro Zamora,lo amo y por el amor y respeto que mis padres y fue esa mi primera iglsia fueron ellos los que nos ensenaron del amor a DIOS y el respeto.pudo pedro morir en el seno de una familia que lo cuido y nunca lo nego y que despues de casi 17 anos de su muerte seguimos amando a los gays seguimos luchando por su respeto y nadie es perfecto,presisamente por eso dejemos que DIOS sea quien haga justicia y mientras tanto demos mas amor respeto y carino por aquellos que no piensen igual,mily zamora

Nothing more than a abnormal deviant freak show.

Exactly what makes these people gay icons? What exactly have they given humanity? I would say Tchaikovsky is a gay icon. He left us wonderful music. Tennessee Williams left us his wonderful plays. And so on and so forth ... Get the picture? What is Wanda Sykes' contribution to humanity? Ghetto English? What is Gaga's? Por favor! Hold up these 31 people to the gay folk who really left us things to be proud of and suddenly you realize how low we've sunk as a civilization, not just the gay part, but as a civilization as a whole. The only person mentioned in the article who actually tried to do something for humanity was Pedro Zamora. It's about legacy, not popularity or being "in" for 15 minutes. And why isn't Liz Taylor a gay icon? Because she wasn't gay? She did more for us than most queers I know. Legacy and contribution, that's what it's about. When Ricky Martin gives the world the wit of a Cole Porter, the voice of a Johnny Mathis, the acting of a Montgomery Clift, the humanity of an Elizabeth Taylor, then I'll call him a gay icon. Meanwhile, I'll stick to Oscar Wilde.

Erin Sloth,
Please read Matthew 19: 1-10

Bravo for Lady Fela! It's about time we proclaim real gay icons, meaning LGBT people who accomplished important lasting things and are universally recognized. Any entertainer who puts on the rainbow in order to cash in on gay popularity and $$$$ should not be considered a "gay icon" but a gay opportunist. (There are dozens of them in show biz today....)

Mi nombre es Tomas Suarez. Estudie, fui amigo y confidente de tu hermano durante el tiempo que estudio en Coral Gables Sr. High y despues mantenimos nuestra amistad. Algo de lo cual estoy muy orgullozo. Gracias por tu mensaje tan lleno de amor. Saludos para ti y toda tu familia, de la cual salio un ser tan maravilloso como lo fue Pedro. Siempre lo tengo presente y siempre lo extranare.

Thank you for the site. May God bless you in all your works


I think it's good that the media showcasing gay and lesbian people that are high profile. When celebrates are soon as gay or lesbian and our culture accepts that. It makes it easy for the average Joe to be gay or lesbian openly.

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