Tarleton celebrates LGBT History Month
By: Sierra Wells
LGBT History Month has officially kicked off in the United States and will continue for the entire month of October. According to the LGBT History Month official website, Rodney Wilson developed this annual celebration in 1994 to educate the public about gay and lesbian history, which is not a topic normally discussed in public schools or many homes.
The Joe R. and Dr. Teresa Lozano Long Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs (ODIIP) at Tarleton has scheduled events for students to get involved on campus during LGBT History Month.
When asked about the importance of this month, ODIIP Director Tiburcio Lince said, “Pride History Month is of utmost importance at Tarleton. Tarleton’s core values are Integrity, Respect and Excellence. One cannot cherry-pick on what topics you’ll behave integrally or whom you’ll respect. Every Tarleton Texan holds a human dignity we must honor and respect. Pride History Month is to remind us that while we have made some progress towards equality for our LGBTQ+ siblings, there is still much exclusion, inequality and violence towards them. On a more hopeful note, Pride History Month is a time to honor those who have made it a little bit easier to be ourselves in little Tarleton.”
This month’s diversity dialogue is “Out on Campus.” Individuals will detail how their lives have been affected on the Tarleton campus while being “out.”
Tarleton is also hosting a two-part ALLY program. This program is meant to educate attendees about the lives and hardships of LGBT community members. The first part will be conducted in Fort Worth on Oct. 7 and Stephenville on Oct. 12. If students attend both sessions, they can then recite the ALLY pledge.
President of Tarleton’s Gay-Straight Alliance Emma Felps described the significance of this program.
Felps said, “I think the ALLY program is so important because it can help those who may not have support at home find someone they can talk to safely. It also gives people who may not know a lot about the community information about it and some of the experiences that are all too common for us in the LGBTQ community. It helps normalize and spread support for the community.”
On Oct. 11, ODIIP will set up photo booths on the Dining Hall patio from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in honor of National Coming Out Day.
Tarleton’s annual drag show, hosted by Kristi Waters, is scheduled for Oct. 12. from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Barry B. Thompson Student Center ballrooms. Performers include Natasha Capri, Adriana Larue, Aria C. Kahlo, Mehgan Iman Dlux and Jey K. Banks.
The Queer-B-Q Mixer will occur on Oct. 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Heritage Park. This event will feature fun activities as well as food for LGBT and ALLY Tarleton students.
Although, this month’s celebrations have not gone exactly according to plan. ODIIP decorated the trees at Rudder Way by wrapping them with rainbow ribbon. This LGBT-inspired decor has been torn apart twice as of Oct. 5.
Noting that this has happened for the past four years that ODIIP has put up the decorations, Lince said, “The Pride decorations were installed on Sept. 30. By 8 p.m. of that night, they were cut off and slashed away. A message was written on pink tape stating, ‘October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.’ On Monday they were re-installed only to be the morning of Tuesday when we were notified they had been slashed away. This instance is a violent attack against the message my office is sending to our LGBTQ+ Tarleton family. At this point, it is not about the action but the IMPACT it’s having on our LGBTQ+ community and their trust in this institution that is working towards inclusivity. This impact is damaging our sense of belonging, safety and acceptance.”
For more information about the Joe R. and Dr. Teresa Lozano Long Office of Diversity, Inclusion and International Programs contact DIVERSITY@tarleton.edu or call 254-968-1714.