Queer 101: LGBTQ+ History Month

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Hello again, Kenyon. Long time no see. It’s Queer 101, back and better than ever! Buckle up and break out your notebooks because you’re about to hear some exciting news. This month, here at Kenyon and everywhere, is LGBTQ+ History Month! Wheee! We already know that October is gay because of Halloween, but it’s also our time to celebrate queer history with our community and allies. In case you’ve been missing all of ODEI’s posters, or are having trouble reading the tiny print, the queer slice of the Kenyon Thrill is here to provide you with the who, what, when and where of LGBTQ+ History Month at Kenyon.


Event One: You Missed it, Ya Dinguses!
The first event on the roster was Kenyon’s Annual LGBTQ+ History Month Lecture, this year given by Dr. Sherry Zane, the Associate Director of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at UConn. Her lecture was about that crazy time when FDR sent spies to catch gay men in Newport, RI and imprisoned them on a boat during WWI. It was also about governmental surveillance and policing of queer bodies in a wider historical context. Sad you missed out? You should be! But worry not. There’s more gay times to come.

Event Two: National Coming Out Day Lecture
The lecture’s happening the day before National Coming Out Day, on October 10th. Alex Shanks, Project and Field Director of Equality Ohio, is giving a talk at 4:30 p.m. in the Community Foundation Theater (located on the lower level of the Gund Gallery). He’s going to be talking about living as a queer black man and the importance of queer visibility in our current political climate. Coming out is a complicated, convoluted concept, but the talk’s gonna be awesome, so roll through!

Event Three: Workshop on Incorporating LGBTQ+ History into Curriculum
This one’s facilitated by our ownAssistant Director of ODEI, Timothy Bussey. It’s for professors, but I’m putting it up here just to let you know that A) if you’re queer, folks are listening re: adding queer stuff to their curriculums and B) if you’re not queer, you should reflect on why incorporating queer history into a curriculum is important. Is it something you’ve ever noticed before? Do you ever feel its absence? How is straight history privileged above queer history? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Event Four: Transforming Care Conference
It’s an all-day affair, folks. ODEI’s headed to the LGBTQ & HIV/AIDS Health Equity Conference at OSU on Oct. 18th and 19th (Thursday and Friday). Contact ODEI for more info. If you can’t make it, do some research on queer healthcare, in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month. What specific healthcare needs do queer communities have that “regular” (read: hetero-centric) health centers might overlook? LGBTQ+ identities have been historically listed as mental illnesses– how might this impact treatment for queer folks today? What would queer-friendly healthcare look like? All this and more at the Conference (or, if you have class, your local Google search).

Event Five: Lecture on Queer History at Kenyon
Tom Stamp ’73, College Historian, is gonna give us the scoop on Kenyon-specific queer history! We’ll get to hear about the ghosts of Kenyon queers past– nice. It’s always important to examine how your institution of higher learning has interacted with LGBTQ+ rights in the past, so it’d be nice to see lots of folks there. Also, the lecture should be super interesting! I’m very excited. See you on October 23rd in Cheever at 11:10 a.m.!

Event Six: Trans History Book Club
This is a school full of English majors. I know you like books, you massive nerds. Grab a copy of Sysan Stryker’s Transgender History and swing by Lentz 104 at 11:10 a.m. on October 30th for a super chill book discussion! I’ve started reading Stryker’s book and I have many, many thoughts. Thoughts and questions! Queeries, if you will. Stryker’s a good writer so I promise you won’t fall asleep. She’s the first trans woman to do… well, a lot of things. Find out more about her and about trans history in general at book club.

In Conclusion…
Listen. There are SIX WHOLE EVENTS, all at various times, scattered throughout the entire month of October. If you really care about the gays and are a good, wholesome ally, I’m sure you can make it to at least one. None of them are going to be boring. In fact, they all sound pretty damn cool. A lot of folks worked really hard to put this together, so come learn about our community. Ask questions. Engage with actual queer folks in safe, welcoming spaces. Bring a friend or two! Help us celebrate how far we’ve come in terms of queer rights and reflect with us upon how far we still have to go. We need your support, now more than ever.

Thanks and see ya later!
-Queer 101

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