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Celebrating LGBTQ+ history with pride

By Jenny Hudak

Celebrating LGBTQ+ history with pride

By Jenny Hudak
October is LGBT History Month and the University of Miami’s LGBTQ Student Center’s colorful celebration of the LGBTQ+ community’s history is well underway

Twenty-six years after the first celebration of LGBT History Month, members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community across the United States are celebrating pride, history, and progress throughout October. The University of Miami’s LGBTQ Student Center’s colorful celebration is well underway, complete with virtual and in-person programming.  

“LGBT History Month is so important to us,” said Gisela Vega, director of the LGBTQ Student Center. “We want to create awareness in our community, create visibility, and engage with our students in the process.”  

The goal of LGBT History Month is to spread awareness and public understanding of the complexity of sexual orientation and to extend recognition of sexual orientations beyond gender binaries, all while sharing the various resources available to students through the LGBTQ Student Center. 

The team kicked off the month with a 21-day anti-racism social media challenge, focusing on the history of the LGBTQ+ community and intersectionality with the Latinx and Black communities. The LGBTQ Student Center also launched the month with a “book blast” on the Lakeside Patio, which invited students to pick up free books that focused on LGBTQ+ history, challenges, and notable advocates.

“We want to make sure we share knowledge and awareness about the community. It’s all about educating as many people as we can,” Roneshia Dennison, the LGBTQ Student Center’s graduate assistant, said. 

On Oct. 9, students gathered on the Lakeside Patio to celebrate National Coming Out Day, an annual day of visibility in the LGBTQ community to mark the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.  A virtual panel, Unsung Heroes of the LGBTQ Movement, highlighted Black and Latinx individuals whose valiant efforts helped to shed light on the experiences of the LGBTQ community.  

Photo: UM LGBTQ Student Center Facebook

Joseph Recker, a junior studying marine science and biology, says the event was an absolute success. As the president of oSTEM, a club that empowers LGBTQ people in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, Recker felt a personal responsibility to empower young members and allies of the LGBTQ community. 

“As President Frenk says, ‘We are One U’ and that really held true at this event where we saw so many people express how they are allies with the LGBTQ population and their dedication to inclusivity. It was extremely heartwarming for me,” Recker said. 

As the month continues, students who are both on-campus or studying remotely are encouraged to keep an eye out for more programs from the LGBTQ Student Center. Making sure programming happened on campus was something LC Furtado, a first-year student majoring in marine science, felt strongly about. 

“Being online, people haven’t had a lot of face-to-face interaction. Especially in the LGBTQ community, it’s important that we keep the office open and have events where students can meet each other during these times,” Furtado said. As a student employee for the LGBTQ Student Center, Furtado coordinated an upcoming Open Mic Night at the Lakeside Patio co-sponsored by Hurricane Productions, the University’s largest undergraduate LGBTQ student organization. 

While LGBTQ History Month may only be celebrated in October, the LGBTQ Student Center offers year-round support, affirming its mission to educate and create awareness around issues of gender, sexuality, and identity for any student, faculty, or staff member of the University community.  

“We really want everyone to know that we’re always here,” Dennison added. “Our office is always open. Stop by to say hi, we’re always here to provide support to anyone in the community who needs it.” 

Here are a few upcoming events you can attend to celebrate LGBT History Month: 

For more information on how to celebrate LGBT History Month, visit lgbtq.studentaffairs.miami.edu. 

Editorial note: While the abbreviation LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, the University recognizes and supports a diversity of gender and sexual identities beyond these four terms. Mentions of LGBT History Month and the LGBTQ Student Center are in reference to their respective formal titles.