Rollins Celebrates LGBT History Month

September 30, 2023

By Jessica Firpi ’11

Rollins College history students create an LGBTQ exhibition at the Center with Claire Strom.
History majors Erika Wesch ’23 and Devorah Burgess ’21 worked with professor Claire Strom to create an LGBTQ+ history exhibition at The Center in Orlando.Photo by Scott Cook.

Rollins honors the lives and contributions of LGBTQ+ people and offers opportunities for education, engagement, and celebration.

The month of October is LGBT History Month, dedicated to highlighting and celebrating the history and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. At Rollins, we’re observing LGBT History Month with a diverse lineup of events on campus and in the community that offer a host of ways to honor and celebrate with thought-provoking conversations, themed celebrations, and more.

Started in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, the first openly gay K-12 teacher in Missouri, “Gay History Month” has since become LGBT History Month, recognized as a commemorative month after a 1995 resolution passed by the General Assembly of the National Education Association. October is significant because of the anniversaries of the first and second LGBT marches on Washington, in 1979 and 1987, and October 11 is National Coming Out Day.

From student-led events to a variety of programming on campus, explore a few of the ways the Rollins community is both honoring the triumphs and adversities of the LGBTQ+ community throughout U.S. history and looking toward the future as agents of change.

Ally Training

The Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging partners with students, staff, faculty, and community members to nurture a climate where those who were underserved can have a sense of belonging and work to eliminate challenges that stand in the way of their success.

Ally 1.0

  • Where: Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, Room 330
  • When: October 2 | 2:30–5 p.m.

Facilitated by the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging, Ally 1.0 (formally Safe Zone) is an introductory course on the LGBTQ+ community for faculty and staff. Topics like terminology, pronouns, and allyship in practice will be discussed.

Ally 2.0

  • Where: Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, Room 330
  • When: November 17 | 1:30–4:30 p.m.

Facilitated by the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging, Ally 2.0 (formally Safe Zone) is an advanced course for faculty and staff on the LGBTQ+ community and a deep dive into gender identity.

Art Exhibition

  • Where: Rollins Museum of Art (RMA)
  • When: October 12 | 12:30–1:30 p.m.

In recognition of LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day, the RMA Student Council is hosting a tour featuring a selection of LGBTQ+ artists in the permanent RMA collection.

LGBTQ+ Identity in the Workplace Panel & Networking Event

  • Where: Kathleen W. Rollins Hall, Career Studio
  • When: October 17 | 6–8:30 p.m.

In collaboration with the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging and the PRIDE Chamber of Orlando, the Center for Career & Life Planning invites you to this panel session to learn about LGBTQ+ identity in the workplace. Topics will include navigating workplace relationships, accommodations, finding inclusive employers, and allyship. The panel will be followed by networking with professionals from the PRIDE Chamber of Orlando and the EMERGE Young Professionals group.

Lessons with Lucy: All About the Asexual Community

  • Where: Lucy Cross Center, Lakeside Neighborhood
  • When: October 20 | Noon

Hosted by the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging, Lessons with Lucy is an opportunity to learn and speak more about a topic of interest. Facilitated by graduate assistant Megan Yavar, this month’s conversation will focus on the asexual community with a presentation and round-table discussion.

Drag Brunch

  • Where: Rice Family Pavilion
  • When: October 22 | 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.

Spectrum, PRISM, and the Student Center for Inclusion & Belonging are hosting a drag brunch, complete with favorites like chicken and waffles, fried mac-and-cheese balls, tequeños, and black bean empanadas along with sweet treats like guava pastries, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, and fruit. Local drag queens Mystree Hugga, Victoria M. F. Cage, and Amnesia Effect will be performing.

In the Community

Central Florida and the 1980s AIDS Crisis: A History Exhibit

  • Where: The Center, 946 N. Mills Avenue, Orlando
  • When: August 3–October 1

With the aid of Rachel Walton, digital archivist and librarian, history professor Claire Strom, and David Matteson, associate curator of education at the Rollins Museum of Art, Ryleigh Burke ’23 and Liam King ’24 wrote and designed a new public history exhibit, Central Florida and the 1980s AIDS Crisis: A History, which debuted at The Center on August 3.

The exhibit documents the impact of the AIDS epidemic within the greater Orlando area and scrutinizes the varied levels of responses from the local, state, and federal government. It also discusses the activism of the LGBTQ+ community to increase awareness of AIDS with the hopes for improved treatment options.

To learn more about the exhibit, read this student blog post.

Come Out With Pride Orlando

  • Where: Lake Eola, Orlando
  • When: October 21 | Noon–10 p.m.

Just 10 days after National Coming Out Day, the nonprofit organization Orlando Pride will once again play host to the annual pride parade and festival. With over 200,000 attendees all coming together to celebrate LGBTQ+ life, history, culture, and community, the festival is filled with a diverse series of events—from LGBTQ+ performers and an array of food trucks and local vendors to the popular pride parade.

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