SHU Celebrates LGBT History Month

This October marks the 29th consecutive year of celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) History Month.

LGBT History Month is recognized on the Sacred Heart University (SHU) campus through clubs, events and advocacy.

“It’s important to take some time every year to honor the work that various activists have done to promote LGBT rights in the past and also celebrate the milestones within American society. LGBT History Month allows supporters to reflect on how far they have come and how far they still have to go. The month is a reminder that much work remains to be done in the future to promote equal rights,” said Dr. Kelly L. Marino, Coordinator of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Dept. of History.

According to See Change Happen UK, LGBT History Month was first observed in Oct. 1994, when it was founded by Missouri high school history teacher Rodney Wilson. Wilson believed that it was important to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the LGBT community, and to raise awareness of the struggles and challenges that LGBT+ people face.

On SHU’s campus, LGBT History Month is recognized through the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) organization. According to SHU, the

GSA was started in the fall of 2000 to promote a safe environment on campus for LGBT students and their allies.

“The GSA is important to raising awareness for the LGBTQ+ community on campus at SHU. They are constantly pioneering new programs and events to bring people together on campus interested in issues of gender, sexuality and networking with others passionate about these topics,” said Marino.

The GSA co-sponsored a national coming out day event alongside PRIDE and the Office for Inclusive Excellence, which took place on Oct. 11 on Upper Quad.

“This event is to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and the coming out experience. This event benefits our SHU community as GSA’s mission statement clearly encourages the vision of social justice to make a difference in the global community,” said senior Nicole Sperling, president of GSA.

GSA has given many SHU students an outlet to be a part of something they are passionate about.

“The presence of GSA on campus has made my experience at SHU so extraordinary. GSA is a big community where people have found acquaintances and lifelong friends. I feel so lucky to be president of such an amazing organization like GSA that is doing important work,” said Sperling.

This fall, SHU introduced the Lambda Delta Xi Diaternity to its campus. According to SHU, Lambda Delta Xi is an all-inclusive Greek-lettered, service organization. It is also the first Greek-lettered organization on the east coast of the United States that is dedicated to advocating for the LGBTQ+ community and their allies.

“It’s really an honor to be a part of Lambda Delta Xi and bring some representation to campus in a way we’ve never seen before. A lot of people feel like they’re missing out on a huge part of the college because they don’t fit into a specific fraternity or sorority, so it’s really exciting to offer a place where anyone can feel welcome,” said senior Nick Rubano, Secretary of Lambda Delta Xi.

In addition to the Oct. 11 event, the “Remembering Activism and Trailblazers” Colloquia will be held on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. in the Martire Forum led by Marino.

“The event is a presentation about the history of the LGBTQ+ movement and key leaders. It helps to support the social justice initiatives and mission of the college. LGBTQ+ history is not always taught in the classroom,” said Marino.

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