By Molly “M.E.O.W.” Naaktgeboren, Staff Writer

Everything has a month these days: Domestic Violence, Latino Heritage and Halloween, and October also hosts a Retirement Week! However, October was chosen for LGBTQ History Month because public schools are in session and coming out day occurs during this month. The month is endorsed by GLAAD, The Human Rights Campaign, the National Education Association and many more.

This topic often gets sidelined in our day-to-day lives. Most people do not see or think of things outside of their interests or hobbies. When you attend school, you live in the bubble of classes, clubs, and other activities. When you live in the “Real Life” bubble, you see friends, family, and work (maybe your bed for a few hours of sleep if you’re lucky!). The equality of all people can be downplayed when it has saturated our media for over a year. It is not interesting, it is passé, and it does not matter, which is where everyone is wrong. To those who are still discriminated against, who would rather hide who they are, who do not feel that they are worth anything; it is everything.

LGBTQ History Month celebrates the achievements of 31 people who are LGBTQ icons. Almost every gender and sexuality resource center is doing their best to really get this out there. Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day, Oct. 20 was Gender and Sexuality Resource Center Awareness Day, and so on.

The showcase of LGBTQ individuals in society now and in the past provides role models, gives validation to a large community, and helps facilitate dialogue to really delve into the civil rights issues of our present day. The showcase sends an important message to teachers and community leaders when you recognize the importance of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals in our history. The message contains understanding, hope and acknowledgment that who you are is who you are and that is okay.

When you do not speak up and ask questions, someone else is also holding the same question in. Asking questions is okay when you are being respectful of LGBTQ individuals (however, no matter how long you have known them, if you attack them verbally or use incorrect pronouns, it will only cause hurt) because they want to help correct misconceptions. When you do speak up, speak with intention, not for attention. There is a difference, and in order to hear the other person, you must stop talking. I promise, you will walk away knowing more than you did before and have further confidence about the LGBTQ civil rights issue. Become an LGBTQ ally today!

Please visit www.lgbthistorymonth.com for LGBTQ History Month resources, daily biographies, links and videos.

For conversation with individuals who are out and Greek, join the National APIA Panhellenic Association for the #OutandGreek webinar at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday, Oct. 28. Visit www.facebook.com/NAPAHQ for further details.

P.S. Piece of advice? Check out your local gender and sexuality resource center. Chances are, it’s one of the coolest places on campus full of rainbows, play dough, bean bags, Netflix (and chill?) and great company. Don’t be afraid to learn something new!

 

EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: All personal statements, beliefs, and opinions in this article are subject to the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jade Times and/or Delta Phi Lambda. Molly “M.E.O.W.” Naaktgeboren is an advocate and serves as an intern for the University at Albany’s gender and sexuality resource center.


Featured Image: William Murphy