LGBT History Month is a time to celebrate sexualities, but it is also a time to learn and educate about the history of the community and the progress that’s still to come.
The month means a lot to Colorado State University students, especially those in the Pride Center.
“It’s our time to shine in the sense of not only how we’ve evolved (or) how much our society is doing better, but also there’s a lot I don’t think people realize,” said Ellie Walker, a freshman majoring in graphic art. “It’s a part of accepting who we are and being like ‘hey we’ve contributed to society.'”
Allison Jessani, a sophomore majoring in psychology, said the month stresses the importance of LGBT issues, while not undermining those outside of the community.
“It is there to legitimize us, but it’s not there to delegitimize other identities,” said. “So we’re not doing this to be like ‘these are important, and you’re not.’ It’s there to be like ‘these are important, too.'”
Jessikha Block, a freshman majoring in art, said the month is meant to validate LGBT experiences.
“It’s not to be hurtful or to push other people’s beliefs and morals down,” Block said. “It’s really to give us the chance to live a free life, a free happy life.”
Jessani said the month provides education about other identities.
“This is a way for us to provide our definitions, and to be more educational and provide our experiences,” Jessani said.
The month’s celebrations and educational events are not limited to discussing gay and straight identities. It includes issues surrounding other sexualities as well.
According to Jessani, there is not one experience in being part of the LGBT community, and there is not a right way to do it. This month showcases that idea.
While some may think same-sex marriage is legal, so homophobia ended, according to Jessani, that is not the case. She said there are still a lot of issues surrounding adoption, conversion therapy and transgender rights.
“People are given the option and the validation of being rude to people in the LGBT community just because of Trump becoming president ,” Block said. “That election really validated a lot of people who have some really bad thoughts.”
According to Block, stereotypes about what it means to be in the LGBT community do not make it much better. Block said the idea of the effeminate gay best friend or the flannel wearing pixie cut lesbian can be harmful to those who do not feel “gay enough.”
“The joke of ‘do not assume my gender’ is not funny at all,” Block said.
According to Block, the takeaway from LGBT History Month is clear:kindness through education.
“You do you” Block said. “It’s mutual respect in general.”
Collegian reporter Maddie Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maddierwright.