October’s LGBT History Month celebrates the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender “icons” who have made significant contributions to the visibility and equality of the LGBT community. Spotlighting LGBT role models helps build community, increases representation, and facilitates understanding of how these role models uplift justice and inclusion. LGBT History Month coincides with National Coming Out Day, which is on October 11. 

In DBT, we talk about the transactional nature of people and their environment. That is, our environment influences us and we influence our environment. Even sitting down to have a conversation with someone demonstrates this — each person influences the other, and both people are different when they walk away from the conversation than when they went into it because of the transactional process that happens back and forth. 

Celebrations like LGBT History Month prompt us to take a look at our environment and what kinds of messages it sends to sexual and gender minority people. Likewise, the role models that are spotlighted during this month show us that individuals and groups of people are able to create positive change in the overall social environment. The complexity of our social environment can sometimes make it difficult to negotiate the coming out process, which involves navigating spaces that are sometimes unpredictable or even unsafe. Finding or creating a safe, affirming community can be a critical part of this process. We can call on our wise-minded values to help us question and challenge harmful messages, ensure that we care for our own well-being, and connect with others who support and validate us.

For more information on LGBT History Month:

For more information on National Coming Out Day: