by Brittany Greve, Contributing Writer
LGBT History Month is a month-long annual observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movements. But here at Drew, it is an opportunity for us to be open to learning and accepting everyone into our community.
LGBT History Month originated in the United States and was first celebrated in 1994. It was founded by Missouri high-school history teacher Rodney Wilson. Wilson, who originated the idea, served as founder on the first coordinating committee and chose October as the month of celebration. October was picked because National Coming Out Day was already established as a widely known event on October 1, the date of the Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
The month is intended to encourage honesty and openness about being LGBTQIA+. It is celebrated in the USA, UK, Germany, Greenland, Brazil, Australia and Hungary. In the UK celebrated during the month of February.
Incidentally, the Alliance, the LGBTQ club on campus, has just started up again after being inactive for the past year. The Alliance is an all-inclusive club that offers a safe and supportive space as well as provides education about the LGBTQIA+ community through advocacy opportunities. They provide a bridge from the LGBTQIA+ community on campus to the local community. Genevieve Windbiel (’20) says since they just became an active club again, “they’re doing as much as they can.”
Dalton Valette (’18), the Event Coordinator of the Alliance, says that they, “are hosting and co-sponsoring a number of events this month to commemorate the month and bring better awareness to the history and show that Drew is an accepting and open space for students.” Valette continues that although the club “was inactive for a few years…[they] believed revitalizing The Alliance was essential so I’ve helped with forming the club, writing the constitution, and hosting events like last month’s Super Gay Q and A. I want The Alliance to be around way after I’m gone,”.
Alissa Glaeser (’18), the President of the Alliance, said “this is a time when we should sit down and see what the LGBT community has gone through and what it still is going through.” She made a point of stating that the difference between LGBT History Month and Pride Month, is that one is about learning and educating people, while the other is a celebration of what the community has overcome. “This month is when we should learn about LGBT history, especially those outside of the community,” said Sam Hecker (’20), explaining more about the month.
Dennis Schteyn (’21) commented on the importance of this month saying, “people need a reminder of how beautiful and awesome the LGBTQ+ community is and we need to be celebrated.” Schteyn
The Office of Student Engagement has been actively advertising the events they have going on during the month. They have already had a screening of The Year We Thought About Love on October 11, as well as hosted the LGBTQIA+ poet, Porsha, on October 12. Schteyn commented on this programming saying, “I feel like setting up events and just allowing opportunities for people to learn about the culture and lives of community members and everyone being super accepting of anything and anybody.”
Over the course of the rest of the month they have even more events planned. On October 14, they will be a part of the LGBT Walking Tour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in NYC. To end off the month, they will have a SafeZone Training on October 20 from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. in EC 145 and then “Drew Voices” on October 20 from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Space.
The Alliance will be hosting many other events throughout the semester that can be found on their Facebook page: The Drew University Alliance.