LGBTQ+ History Month reminds us where we’ve been
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LGBTQ+ History Month reminds us where we’ve been

On Oct. 4, the Center for Diversity and Community kicked off LGBTQ+ History Month. On Oct. 11, Spectrum is hosting an event for National Coming Out Day.

Why are these events important?

That’s easy. The Stonewall Riots weren’t covered in any history courses I took, nor were Harvey Milk or Allan Spear, who were both openly gay politicians.

Discussions on Annie Proulx’s “Brokeback Mountain” in English and singing a song like Greg Holden’s “Boys in the Street” in my high school choir would’ve be unthinkable.

There’s also the fast-paced changes that have happened in recent years. The Supreme Court determined in 2015 that the Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry.

The usage of gender neutral pronouns – they, them, their – for people whose genders don’t fit the binary has become acceptable.

And universities, such as USD, have created videos like “You Can Play.” Videos like this showcase how universities are actively trying to improve the environment for the LGBTQ+ community.

An important aspect of LGBTQ+ History month is National Coming Out Day.  

National Coming Out Day allows members of the LGBTQ+ to share their stories of coming out of the closet.

In my case, coming out of the closet back in high school resulted in depression. I knew at the age of 12 that I was attracted to guys.

At the time, I knew the importance of staying in the closet. Three years prior to me coming out, Matthew Shepard was murdered for being gay.

After Shepard’s murder, I remember hearing how people in my hometown discussed it – some were disgusted by the fact that Shepard was gay.

By the summer prior to my junior year of high school, I came out. The constant lying about my orientation got old and exhausting.

Since then, I’ve shared my coming out on panels with other members of the LGBTQ+ community. The Gay-Straight Alliance I was a part of at the time felt it was important to share our coming out stories. If, for no other reason, to help people who might have been exposed to LGBTQ+ community.

USD’s gay-straight alliance, Spectrum, has planned on sharing member’s coming out stories on National Coming Out Day in the Muenster University Center.

National Coming Out Day also allows the LGBTQ+ community to showcases the differences within the community. One such difference is the abbreviation for the LGBTQ+ community – often referred at as the alphabet soup – has changed.

I know people who add a “q” to it for queer. Some add the letter “a” for asexual while others use “a” for ally. And others add the letter “i” for intersex.

More differences within the LGBTQ+ community include what minorities face when coming out. The Human Rights Campaign provides resources for African Americans, Asian Pacific Americans and Latinos and Latinas.

These differences are what help to make the LGBTQ+ community great.

And as I have spent time with members of Spectrum, I’ve gotten to know members of the LGBTQ+ community that have 10 years on me in the community. I’ve also gotten to know more on non-gender binaries and gender preferred pronouns. This has happened because members of Spectrum are open to sharing their stories to each other.

This is why LGBTQ+ History Month is important. Although there are plenty of changes still happening, there’s still plenty to look back on.