By: BRANDON GROVES
There is a wide variety of observances in the month of October. We take a look at everything from breast cancer to bullying. For many at IU South Bend and the surrounding community, LGBT history will have an important focus.
Founded in 1994 by Missouri high school history teacher Rodney Wilson, LGBT History Month looks at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history, and the history of gay rights and related civil rights movements.
The Queer Straight Alliance has been heading the celebration of this October observance at IUSB. For over five years, the Queer Straight Alliance has united members and allies of the LGBTQ community to help educate and advocate for LGBTQ causes. The organization is open to all IUSB students and community members.
The biggest part of celebrating LGBT History Month is National Coming Out Day, which happened on Oct. 11. Since 1988, National Coming Out Day celebrates people coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or an ally of the LGBTQ community. Along with the IUSB Archives, the LGBTQ Center and the Department of Women’s & Gender Studies, President Michael McMillion and the members of the Queer Straight Alliance decided to organize a Coming Out Stories event.
“It was a story telling event hosted at the LGBTQ Center; people would tell their coming out process,” said McMillion. “Some knew people who came out and they told their story about how that person dealt with it personally.”
During National Coming Out Day, IUSB Archives also released the LGBTQ Collection from the Civil Rights Heritage Center for St. Joseph County Public Library’s Michiana Memory. This collection can be seen at michianamemory.sjcpl.org.
Many other events celebrating LGBT History Month occurred at IUSB during October. There was a free HIV testing sponsored by AIDS Ministries. With the help of the Feminist Student Union and the Campus Ally Network, the Queer Straight Alliance was able to get the rights to show “The Danish Girl” at the Student Activities Center.
Although South Bend has not always been accepting of the LGBTQ community, the community has recently taken a more progressive path. McMillion feels that IUSB has helped make the LBGTQ community feel less unwanted.
“Since I came here, I believe that the university has been a very accepting, open and affirming campus,” said McMillion. “I’ve never felt that the university was obstructing the rights of LGBTQ students.”