General Lab Information

LGBTQ* Awareness Periods

Aromantic Awareness WeekWeek of February 14th

aromantic flag

Beginning in 2014, the first full week after February 14 has been dedicated to those people on the Aromantic spectrum to help promote awareness for the community. To be aromantic means one doesn’t experience romantic attraction. This identity is often confused with asexuality (the lack of sexual attraction) but they are truly different. Someone who is aromantic may still experience sexual attraction and someone who is asexual may still experience romantic attraction; though, often those who identify as aromantic also identify as asexual (called “aro-ace”). For many of us, this can seem a little peculiar when thinking about forming relationships with other people. Aromantic folks still form really strong relationships with the people they love, they just tend to be familial and platonic relationships.

Being that Aromanticism is an often forgot about piece of LGBTQ* culture, take this week to learn and recognize the uniqueness of Aromantics, their comminuty, their struggles, and their experiences.

Note: Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression all exist on a spectrum and how one chooses to identify, regardless of definition, is up to oneself. These definitions are in no way meant to mislabel or compartmentalize people into specific categories or groups.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and BiphobiaMay 17th

What is Interational Day Against Homophobia, Transphobiea and Biphobia?

The main purpose of this day is to raise awareness of violence, discrimination, and repression of LGBTQ+ communities worldwide, which in turn provides an opportunity to take action and engage in dialogue with the media, policymakers, public opinion, and wider civil society.

Why is Interational Day Against Homophobia, Transphobiea and Biphobia important?

As of 2019, 69 countries still criminalize same-sex relationships, which mean that millions of gays, lesbians and bisexuals are unable to live their lives openly. Also, in 26 countries, transgender individuals are subjected to punishments, and they are disproportionally at risk of violence across the globe. IDAHOBIT is frequently used as a platform for organizing initiatives to advance the fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ groups in many countries, even in those (like Uganda) in which homosexuality is criminalized.

What can I do on Interational Day Against Homophobia, Transphobiea and Biphobia?

There are many public events that you can attend to show your support of the LGBTQ+ community. These are coordinated through

Pansexual & Panromantic Awareness DayMay 24th

pansexual flag

Celebrated every May 24 since 2015, Pansexual & Panromantic Awareness Day is dedicated to promoting awareness of and celebrating pansexual and panromantic identities. So, what does it mean to be pansexual or panromantic? And what is the difference? First off, the prefix “pan” means “all” and although they have the same prefix, pansexuality and panromanticism are quite distinct. Pansexual people are individuals who are attracted to others regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. Panromantic people are very similar, however, they aren’t necessarily sexually attracted to others.

Another important distinction to make is the difference between bisexuality and pansexuality. In the terms of identity, the prefix “bi” means multiple – which is not the same as “all”. These two identities are often confused with one another because the majority of people exist in the gender binary: men and women. However, we must remember that there are still many people who associate with other gender identities along the spectrum such as nonbinary, nongender, pangender, transgender, etc. For example, someone who is bisexual may only be attracted to men and women, or men and transgender men. On the contrary, someone who is pansexual is attracted to all genders.

panromantic flag

Take today to recognize the differences and uniqueness of those who are pansexual and panromantic; celebrate their history, culture, and stories; and remember their struggles.

Note: Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression all exist on a spectrum and how one chooses to identify, regardless of definition, is up to oneself. These definitions are in no way meant to mislabel or compartmentalize people into specific categories or groups.

LGBTQ+ Pride MonthMonth of June

pride flag

June is the month where people who identify as LGTBQ+ and their allies come together to celebrate and show their pride and grow societal acceptance. The annual gay pride celebrations that occur in many US cities and around the world during the month of June have their roots in a singular event that occurred from June 27 – 29, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.

The Stonewall Inn was a gay bar that had a diverse LGBTQ+ following, frequented by people from various racial and ethnic groups. As gay bars were not legal at the time, they operated underground, and were routinely raided by police and the patrons arrested. However, one day, the people in the Stonewall Inn fought back. On June 27, 1969, an early morning police raid was met with resistance beginning an uprising that lasted for three days and resulted in over 400 arrests.

new pride flag

The activism that followed resulted in the creation of the Gay Liberation Front and Gay Activist Alliance in 1969. One year later, the anniversary of the uprising saw the first pride parades take place in multiple cities across the United States, though primarily in San Francisco and New York. The parades have continued to spread across the globe ever since resulting in the modern June Pride Month Celebrations that we are all familiar with today.

There are many versions of pride flags, but these are the most common. The first flag shown here represents the simpler, more popular design and the second is a redesign to include the transgender community and people of color. Whichever flag is flown, the message is one of love, acceptance, and celebration.

Bisexual Awareness WeekSeptember 16th - 23rd

flag

Bisexual Awareness Week, also known as #BiWeek, is an annual celebration week held in September, from September 16th through the 23rd. This week seeks to accelerate acceptance of the bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, no label, queer, etc.) community. #BiWeek draws attention to the experiences, while also celebrating the resiliency of, the bisexual+ community.

Bisexuality is a sexual orientation, and bisexual people are those who have the capacity to form attraction and/or relationships to more than one gender. Bisexual people make up the largest portion of the LGBTQ community, but are often erased and are at a higher risk of sexual assault and suicide.

Note: Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression all exist on a spectrum and how one chooses to identify, regardless of definition, is up to oneself. These definitions are in no way meant to mislabel or compartmentalize people into specific categories or groups.

National Coming Out DayOctober 11th

National Coming Out Day (NCOD) was started by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary in 1988 on the first anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (October 11). During this time, gay rights activists experienced a lot of anti-LGBTQ* sentiment, so Eichberg and O’Leary believed they should promote positivity and celebration instead of reacting defensively. They believed that only in the atmosphere of silence and ignorance can a belief like homophobia thrive. NCOD’s goal was to give a platform to LGBTQ* people to fight that ignorance.

Since its conception, NCOD has been a day of celebration for those in the LGBTQ* community and their allies that is typically accompanied by wearing rainbow ribbons and pins. Today we celebrate those who have had the courage to come out – regardless if it’s to themselves, family, friends, or coworkers. We also take today to consider those who never had the opportunity and those who still struggle with the decision.

Thank you to all the supporters and allies of BNL Pride Alliance!

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Asexual Awareness WeekLast full week of October

asexual pride flag

Asexual Awareness Week, also known as Ace Week, was first started in 2010 and has since been celebrated during the last full week of October. But what exactly is Asexuality? It is an identity in which someone does not experience any form of sexual attraction; however, as with most things, there is a spectrum. Often, Ace people can be confused with those who are aromantic – or people lacking romantic attraction. Although an individual can identify by both terms, they are distinct in their meaning. Those who are Ace may still form romantic relationships with other people, but the relationship might lack forms of sexual affection that are seen in heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

Take this week to recognize the uniqueness of the Asexual community and learn about their history, struggles, and culture.

Note: Sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression all exist on a spectrum and how one chooses to identify, regardless of definition, is up to oneself. These definitions are in no way meant to mislabel or compartmentalize people into specific categories or groups.

World AIDS DayDecember 1st

Red awareness ribbon

What is World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day takes place on 1 December each year. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first ever global health day.

Why is World AIDS Day important?

Around 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the US. Globally, there are an estimated 38 million people who have the virus. Despite the virus only being identified in 1984, more than 35 million people have died of HIV or AIDS, making it one of the most destructive pandemics in history.

Today, scientific advances have been made in HIV treatment, there are laws to protect people living with HIV and we understand so much more about the condition. Despite this, about 14 percent of them (1 in 7) don’t know it and need testing. People do not know the facts about how to protect themselves and others, and stigma and discrimination remain a reality for many people living with the condition.

World AIDS Day is important because it reminds the public and government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education. In fact,

What can I do for World AIDS Day?

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to show solidarity with the millions of people living with HIV worldwide. Most people do this by wearing an HIV awareness red ribbon on the day.