Spectrum, LGBTQ+ Union and various organizations in the Holmes Cultural Diversity Center are gathering this October to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, a celebration of pride and an opportunity to teach about the history and movement of the LGBTQ community.
This month, members of the LGBTQ community have the opportunity to learn the history and struggle to obtain rights and acceptance, learn about influential LGBT members and build a strong, loving community.
To kick off this month’s events, Denice Frohman, a poet and educator, came to campus to share her poetry advocating for the Hispanic and Latinx members in the LGBTQ+ community.
Among other events, Safe Zone Ally, an organization promoting love and acceptance for all people, hosted a training seminar to educate allies on how to support the LGBTQ community. There are multiple places on campus where students can receive equal opportunities and zero judgment. If there is a rainbow paw print sticker on a door or window of an office or building, it indicates a safe zone for LGBTQ members.
Sam Calvert, the president of the LGBTQ+ Union, said this month is very important to members of the LGBTQ community because it allows them to have a voice and spotlight in society.
This annual event started in 1994 because Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high-school history teacher, wanted to celebrate and educate people on LGBT history. Since Coming Out Day is October 11, celebrating the history of LGBTQ in October seems appropriate.
The LGBTQ community’s heritage is one of the only subjects not taught in schools, homes or religious institutions, and Calvert said this month is an important way to educate people.
The events and organizations promoted during LGBTQ+ History Month are not just for members of the LGBTQ community. Everyone is welcomed and encouraged to attend events and give support. Being an ally can help LGBTQ members feel safe, accepted and loved by their communities.
Ryan Sallans will come to campus Oct. 24 to present his lecture on transgender acceptance, “Improving Trans Inclusivity on Campus.” This lecture will provide the MSU community a unique opportunity to learn how to support the transgender community and the community’s obstacles in school and work.
The Brown Bag Discussion, an informal event during lunch at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 25 in the Folkes Auditorium, will provide a platform for discussion about the history of the LGBTQ community, the struggle for LGBTQ rights and the ongoing movement for acceptance and equality.
LGBTQ+ History Month will conclude Oct. 25 with Coffee, Culture & Conversation, a discussion on inclusivity hosted by the International Student Advisory Board. The event starts at 5 p.m. in room 330 at the Colvard Student Union, and includes free Starbucks coffee and snacks.
Alex Baldwin, the vice president of the LGBTQ+ Union, said he and his team work as advocates for the LGBTQ community and are hopeful for a large turnout at the month’s final events.
"The LGBTQ+ Union is working hard to reach out to all of campus," Baldwin said. "We are hoping for a large turnout for our future events."
Natalie McNeely, a veterinarian science student who is a part of the LGBTQ community, said these events hosted by the LGBTQ+ Union are very significant in sharing their message and showing visible support from MSU for the LGBTQ community.
"These events are very beneficial and important, not only for raising awareness, but for showing those who are a part of the community that there is a safe space here for them," McNeely said.
Calvert said she is excited to see the involvement at the events so far, and is glad to highlight the importance of a history month for the LGBTQ community and promote acceptance and visibility for the community
"Visibility and being accepted is important," Calvert said. "People want to be accepted in any walk of life. We promote inclusion, diversion and equality. We want people on campus to feel welcome."