LGBTQ History Month kicks off on campus with variety of new events

Every October, the Pride Alliance Center hosts a celebration for LGBTQ History Month. With 11 events this year — many brand new — the Pride Alliance Center hopes to introduce more of campus to LGBTQ history, culture, and community.

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LGBTQ History Month kicks off on campus with variety of new events

Event attendees jot down ideas of traditional media in the LGBTQ+ community during the Pride Alliance House’s Spilling Tea event on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. The event was a discussion about LGBTQ+ media.

Event attendees jot down ideas of traditional media in the LGBTQ+ community during the Pride Alliance House’s Spilling Tea event on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. The event was a discussion about LGBTQ+ media.

Emily Wangen

Event attendees jot down ideas of traditional media in the LGBTQ+ community during the Pride Alliance House’s Spilling Tea event on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. The event was a discussion about LGBTQ+ media.

Emily Wangen

Emily Wangen

Event attendees jot down ideas of traditional media in the LGBTQ+ community during the Pride Alliance House’s Spilling Tea event on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. The event was a discussion about LGBTQ+ media.

Gretchen Lenth, News Reporter

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A quaint but cozy exterior and a pride flag blow in the wind outside of the Pride Alliance Center. Stepping inside, objects elevate the homey atmosphere, with couches, a kitchen, and a friendly student staff ready to greet visitors. 

To many, the Pride House is just that — a home away from home. Throughout October, the center will recognize LGBTQ History Month, an important celebration of past and present LGBTQ culture.

Pride Alliance Center coordinator Emma Welch said she aims to set this year apart from years past.

“We want these events to be as catered to and including of the students as possible, since all these events are for them,” she said. 

This is Welch’s first full year as coordinator for the University of Iowa’s Pride House. Much like the rest of the leaders involved, she’s pulling out all the stops to make October a month to remember. 

This comes with the introduction of several new events. Pride House student coordinator Jacob Thompson said he sees education, community, and an embrace of queer culture as the common themes pulling the center’s 11 events together. 

His personal favorite is the new student-run and -led Spilling Tea event series. Its first theme, Thriving Through the Shade, is focused on the LGBTQ community’s influence on social media.

“While we have a general outline for [the series], it’s really what the people who show up want to talk about. If they want to spill the tea, or if they want to talk about the strengths or weaknesses our community has … it’s a little vent [session],” Thompson said. 

This year, there’s also an emphasis on collaboration with the UI’s other cultural houses. Along with Queer Latinidad, a recurring discussion session in which queer Latinx individuals share their experiences, the Afro-American Cultural Center has been handed the reigns in planning one Spilling Tea session of its own.  

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“This event emphasizes the intersectionality of LGBT individuals,” Pride House student leader Darcell Stokes said. “They can have more than one identity.”

Another new stand-out event this year is the Out Dancing glowstick dance. Referring to it as a sort of “queer prom,” Thompson said he hopes to give LGBTQ students an experience they may have missed out on back in high school.

QUEERation, another new event, is a showcase of art by and for members of the LGBTQ community. Keynote speaker Jen Rouse, a playwright, poet, and painter, will also host a workshop with attendees to help them create their own art, which will be on display in the Pride Alliance Center’s building. 

“It’s a way to leave a little footprint at the Pride House,” Welch said. 

These events only scratch the surface of ways to get involved in LGBTQ History Month, as well as LGBTQ culture in general, Stokes said. 

“A lot of people know about Queer History Month,” she said. “But it isn’t just one month.” 

Stokes hopes that by introducing more of the campus to the Pride House through this month’s events, it will help people to see it in the same light she does. 

“It provides a space where people can authentically be themselves and surround themselves with people who do the same,” she said.

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