Sep 302010
Authors: Alex Sieh

You can’t know where you’re going, some people argue, until you know where you’ve been.

For the month of October the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community –– one built upon activism, oppression and occasional success –– will take time to do just that, learning the history that has defined it.

Throughout the month, CSU will welcome national activists and entertainers for a series of events that, hosted by the GLBT Resource Center, will promote messages of awareness and importance of identity to students and faculty.

A tradition 16 years in the making, GLBT History Month began with a Missouri high school teacher’s hope to emphasize, as other communities do, the history of the GLBT movement, according to the event’s website.

More prominent since the early 2000s, this month highlights a new personal icon each day in October, celebrating the accomplishments of people who aren’t always recognized for their contribution to not only to the GLBT movement but also to social and technological innovations.

From Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady and delegate to the United Nations, to Matthew Shepard, a University of Wyoming student whose murder in 1998 sparked national governmental reform, the month’s icons are faces of activism and awareness, people on whose actions the community’s present status rests.

An “invisible” community as Foula Dimopoulos, the director of the GLBT Resource Center on campus, describes it, the GLBT community worked for this event to evolve from a single day, National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, into a month-long effort.

Since that time, this month has offered “formal and informal outlets to have moments to celebrate our lives,” Dimopoulos said.

“There’s so much pain in the world, but also so much to celebrate,” she said.

To bring this month’s tradition to campus, the GLBT Resource Center has teamed up with organizations like Campus Activities, the Association for Student Activity Programming and the Native American Cultural Center, among others, to host a variety of events centered on GLBT history and awareness.

With events beginning Monday, the center will host presentations that include those from Mia Mingus, Robyn Ochs and Jade Esteban Estrada, activists or entertainers who will share their thoughts and stories of identity and community.

“It’s about understanding the ways that our lives and identities intersect,” Dimopoulos said.

Nationally presented by the Equality Forum since 2006, GLBT History Month “teaches (GBLT) heritage, provides role models … and makes the civil rights statement of our extraordinary national and international contributions,” according to the website.

At home, the message is a little simpler but just as important for the GLBT community.

“While we’re all different, we’re also very similar,” Dimopoulos said. “(This month) is about community, voice and belonging.”

Each event in this month’s series on campus will have an interpreter and all are free and open to the public.

A complete list of the events can be found online at

Design Editor and Copy Chief Alexandra Sieh can be reached at

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