October is LGBT History Month, created in 1994 by a Missouri school teacher to inform, celebrate and reflect on the history of the LGBT movement and the long lost history of the LGBT community.
LGBT Month is celebrated in October instead of in June, the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, because the creators wanted it to be when school was in session. October 11 is also National Coming Out Day, a day to encourage people to tell someone about their sexuality and to celebrate being out. As a few of the pins from past movements says, “Silence=death” and “Knowledge=change.”
To celebrate LGBT History Month, the LGBTQ Student Alliance and Multicultural Center at IUPUI are hosting multiple events, which started with the LGBTQ+ History Talk this Monday with guest speaker Lowell Kane, professor at Purdue University.
“A big part is so much history has been omitted so it leaves us with few ways to understand communities, identities and connect with role models that are positive.” Kane said.
LGBT history is important because much of it has been erased or changed due to societal beliefs about the LGBT community. In the past and all the way through today, LGBTQ history has been omitted purposely. This year, California became the first state to teach LGBT history in schools. Prior to this, LGBT history was ignored in curriculum for most high school students.
Kane focused his message at LGBTQ+ History Talk about how LGBT history has been erased or changed over time. He spoke of how even early evidence of homosexuality such as Greek artifacts that showed images depicting homosexuality weren’t put on display.
He also showed various works of art that use coded language to tell LGBT history and discussed with the group ways to discover lost history. Some of these are interviewing people, police reports, media from that time period, and to look for personal documents such as letters and journals.
“It’s a history that isn’t talked about. It’s pushed under the rug. It’s a big part of my identity and I don’t know my history,” Jayce Koenn, IUPUI student, said. “Since it’s a big part of my identity, I want to have pride in my history.”
With education comes understanding, which is one of the reasons LGBT History Month is important. Many IUPUI students may have heard the Westboro Baptist Church is protesting IUPUI Tuesday because of our LGBTQ Student Alliance and new LGBTQ student center.
Alongside that, the LGBTQ Student Alliance is hosting a counter protest Tuesday in the Taylor Courtyard while “But I’m a Cheerleader” plays in the LGBTQ Student Center with refreshments. Students and the community are welcome to join, but IUPUI asks that students do not engage with Westboro Baptist protestors. Without knowing history, the saying goes, we are doomed to repeat it.
LGBT History Month continues until the end of October. Events are open to all students. The kick-off is today at 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The LGBTQ+ Student Alliance also holds events, talks, and meetings regularly. For more information, click here.