High-profile parades and festivals make Pride Month in June easy to appreciate, but the timing of LGBTQ+ History Month in October offers its own advantages for students eager to celebrate with their peers on campus.
Yufan Lu ’25, one of two student managers for Unity House, whose mission is to enhance the awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community across campus, said the observance offers an important opportunity for reflection amid community.
“Since Pride Month is not during the school year, LGBTQ+ History Month is kind of the only time during the school year for queer and trans students to celebrate their identities and look back on their history,” Lu said.
LGBTQ+ History Month was created in 1994 by a high school teacher in Missouri. October was chosen because it coincides with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 and when previous marches for gay and lesbian rights took place in Washington, D.C.
The political activism of the early stages of the queer and trans movements feels particularly relevant now and raises important questions, Lu said.
“There has been a lot more anti-LGBTQ+ violence around the country. Even with situations that don’t escalate into violence, there’s still this bigotry going around everyday …. How do we protect each other? What lessons can we learn from our queer elders? Looking back at our history, how was progress made?”
A number of upcoming events are planned as part of LGBTQ+ History Month celebrations on campus. These include:
- Oct. 20: Screening of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” at 7 p.m. in The Gund’s Community Foundation Theater. Co-sponsored by Lyceum, QTPOC and Kenyon Asian Identities (KAI).
- Oct. 24: Event with Ace and Aro Alliance of Central Ohio Founding Executive Director Dorian Rhea Debussy during the Common Hour in the Community Foundation Theater.
- Oct. 27: Intersex Awareness Day event featuring advocate Pidgeon Pagonis at 4:15 p.m. in Higley Hall. Co-sponsored by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, QTPOC, Unity House and the LGBTQ+ Diversity Fund.
- Oct 21-28: In athletics, a series of Pride games are being sponsored by Kenyon College Athletes for Equality (KCAE). They include football (Oct. 21), men’s soccer (Oct. 24), women’s soccer (Oct. 25) and field hockey (Oct. 28).
Rene Guo, assistant director of diversity, equity and inclusion who oversees Unity House, said that these and other events associated with LGBTQ+ History Month are ways of paying homage to the past while working toward a more equitable future.
“At Kenyon College, we are proud to have six informal or formal LGBTQ+ affinity groups, each representing a unique facet of the LGBTQ+ community. These groups stand as a testament to the power and engagement of our student leaders who are actively shaping the future, much as their predecessors have in the past,” Guo said. “They create safe spaces, provide support, and champion inclusivity on our campus, ensuring that our institution remains a beacon of progress in the broader struggle for LGBTQ+ rights.
“As we celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month at Kenyon College,” they continued, “we invite our community to join us in this journey of reflection and celebration.”