Annual pride flag raising opens conversation about LGBTQ+ history

The+Progressive+Pride+flag+and+the+American+flag+fly+outside+the+library%2C+West+Haven%2C+Oct.+3%2C+2022.

Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Lindsay Giovannone.

The Progressive Pride flag and the American flag fly outside the library, West Haven, Oct. 3, 2022.

Lindsay Giovannone, Copy Desk Chief

On Monday Oct. 3rd, the university welcomed LGBTQ+ history month by raising a Pride Flag outside the Marvin K. Peterson Library.

Ian Shick, the Assistant Director of LGBTQ+ Resources at the Myatt Center for Diversity and Inclusion, opened the event. They discussed the history of the month as well as days of significance, such as National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. “Each of these days are a reminder of celebration and mourning and so much more on our history and experience as LGBTQ+ people here in the United States.”

Just before raising the flag, Shick said, “LGBTQ+ people do and deserve to exist as our full selves everywhere. This month we honor that existence, that history, and that resiliency of creating the lives we want to live.”

The Vice President of Community, Advocacy and Diversity for the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA), Mary Lippa, advocated for the learning of queer history, saying that, “it is essential we hear [LGBTQ+] history and see those who came before us in and out of the classroom.” She said, “Inclusion, pride, and community is everything we should strive for. Not just in our professional positions, but in our personal lives, whether we are queer or not.”

Liv Knight, the President of PRIDE, spoke movingly on their own experience as a queer person, “As I grew up, I was under the impression that I was weird and there was something wrong with me,” they said. “These things are not unique.”

Knight stressed that the university needs to do more when supporting LGBTQ+ students, “This university has to become more active in the fight against homophobia and transphobia, other than this performative raising of the flag that might be taken down next week or so. This university must change so that people don’t worry about getting deadnamed when they receive accolades of any kind. So that people don’t have to remove the pronouns from their zoom names and email signatures because no one is using them. So they don’t have to experience being misgendered by [their] administration. So they can go to the LGBTQ+ center we were promised back in 2019 and feel included. So that the milestone anniversaries of this campus LGBTQ+ RSO are acknowledged and respected just as much as others.”

Knight closed their speech with hopes for the future of LGBTQ+ history month and for the university. “In the Octobers of the future I hope whoever takes my place can participate in this event without thinking in the back of their heads how they haven’t been supported. I hope that with this month and every month afterwards, you all can become more educated and more proactive in being LGBTQIA+ allies and advocates.”