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UCF plans activities as it celebrates LGBTQ month for first time

Contributing Writer

Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012

Updated: Sunday, September 30, 2012 15:09

LGBTQ

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UCF will be hosting events throughout October in honor of LGBTQ History Month, such as open forums for faculty, staff, students and allies and a film series called “God is LGBTQ plus.”

In 1969, tensions between police and those in the LGBTQ community came to a climax when a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York’s Greenwich Village turned into a rebellion lasting six days. To many, this rebellion marked the start of the contemporary gay rights movement.

Today, a movement is sweeping through different communities and raising awareness and advocacy for the visibility of the history of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer or questioning community.

UCF is joining in the movement as the university prepares to celebrate LGBTQ History Month in October. This will be the first year that it will be presented at UCF.

According to the LGBTQ History Month website, the national celebration was started in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, and some of his colleagues who believed it was necessary to raise awareness of LGBTQ history.

The month of October was chosen because of the already existing traditions that take place such as Come Out With Pride Day and National Coming Out Day.

David Moran, graduate assistant for LGBTQ Services at UCF, said there are many celebrations that take place nationally and are recognized by the federal government, and he believes that LGBTQ Services is following that lead.

Sara Wilcox, a senior education major and vice president of external affairs for Equal at UCF, hopes that students at UCF will see and learn more about LGBTQ history and community.

“Maybe it will open their eyes to what has gone on throughout the years to get to where we are today and how much room we have to continue to grow and continue to add to the history month, essentially, from here on,” Wilcox said.

Fawn Goldstein, a junior psychology major and LGBTQ ally, said that educating the UCF community and learning more about the history would be her No. 1 hope for this month’s celebration.

“I think, as an ally, it’s basically my role to be supportive and to educate myself and help other people be allies,” Goldstein said.

LGBTQ History Month offers the chance for those who identify with the LGBTQ-plus community to connect with their history as well as other community allies. Moran believes this is what makes the month unique because the majority of those who identify with the LGBTQ-plus community are typically not taught about their history by their family.

“Usually they’re kind of the only one in the family that has that lived experience whereas in other cultural situations — if you’re Eastern European or if you’re of African descent or if you’re a Latino or a Hispanic — your family unit often will pass on some kind of sense of heritage,” Moran said.

This year’s theme for the month is “Educate, Celebrate, Advocate.”

“We’re trying to balance educating people with the reality that we still need to do advocacy work, but also celebrate what we are in a positive and proactive way,” Moran said.

There are a few events that will be taking place at UCF throughout the month that cover a variety of topics from education and advocacy to persecution of the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ Services will be holding its monthly Q lab on Friday. Q Lab is an open academic forum for faculty, staff, students and allies to share research and projects. This month’s lab will be on gay parenting and sociology research.

There will also be a film series taking place every Friday called “God is LGBTQ plus,” which will be looking at the intersections of faith and LGBTQ identity. Each week will feature a documentary on a person from a different faith background, including people who identify with Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

“I think that will be great to educate people across multiple faiths about how spirituality fits in with your sexuality and gender identity,” Moran said.

The keynote speaker for the month will be Kate Bornstein, author of Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us. Bornstein has been a huge activist for gender and transgender issues, Moran said.

Bornstein will be participating in the Multicultural Student Center’s book club, which is featuring her book, as well as giving a lecture on the state of gender issues.

Student Legal Services will also be hosting an event that will talk about the rights of those who are in the LGBTQ community.

“I think our calendar is pretty diverse as far as representing different perspectives, and that’s really important to us,” Moran said.

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