GSA educates campus with a month of LGBTQ history


Gracie Terrall, News Editor (She/Her)

The passage of Resolution 20-09-R officially recognizes October as LGBTQ History Month at South Dakota State University.

Amanda Jensen, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance representative for Students’ Association, was sitting in on the meeting when the Senate voted.

“It was truly a rollercoaster of emotions,” Jensen said. “There was a time when I really didn’t think it was going to pass, but when it finally did, I felt like I was going to cry.”

Resolution recognizing LGBTQ students has been in the works for awhile at South Dakota State University. Last year, it was proposed to recognize June as Pride month on campus; however, it was not passed.

This year, the resolution was recognizing October as a month dedicated to education about the historical civil rights activism within the LGBTQ community.

“The main focus of this resolution was to show our students who fall within the definition of LGBTQ whether SDSU is inclusive for the LGBTQ community, so if they come here, will they feel appreciated, will they feel safer?” prime sponsor and Senator-At-Large Mosharraf Hossain said.

Since the resolution passed in October, GSA has prepared events. Throughout the month, GSA has played multiple historical films and posted on their Facebook page about different historical LGBTQ figures and their contributions to the community.

“Queer representation is important because not a lot of people are educated or know about certain historical civil rights landmarks,” GSA President Bailey Beigler said. “We’re trying to make sure people understand that queer people exist.”

They have partnered with the Black Student Alliance to host Zaylore Stout and the Latin American Student Association to host Yosimar Reyes, both speaking about their experiences with the intersectionality of being both people of color and queer.

“It is important to realize that this is not all just white people,” Jensen said. “LGBTQ spans over all cultures. Between being non-white and being LGBTQ, these people are feeling more oppressed than ever. Hopefully, this resolution will allow them to feel like they’re welcome.”

While there are no more events planned for the remaining days of October, GSA will continue to have club meetings on Wednesday nights.

For LGBTQ months in future years, GSA hopes to have booths in the University Student Union and further educate people about the hardships and paths paved by gay icons.

“A lot of people, even in the queer community, just don’t know the history,” Beigler said. “It is good to remind others about the important people who sacrificed things to get where we are today. We want to do more educational talks to the public, because if queer students don’t know, then the public doesn’t know either.”

October was first recognized as LGBTQ History Month in 1994. In 2009, former President Barack Obama declared it a national history month. Since then, local colleges like Black Hills State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and North Dakota State University have come to celebrate and recognize LGBTQ History Month over the years.

“While June is a super important month for the queer community, I think it is important to have a month like this on campus for students who are queer,” Jensen said. “We’re gonna be prideful, but this month is about the history behind what has happened in the past and why it is important.”