By Stella Katsipoutis-Varkanis

Celebrated every October beginning the first of the month, LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, plus) History Month is a commemorative period dedicated to recognizing and honoring the rich and diverse history, struggles, achievements, and often overlooked or marginalized contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community to the American society. Throughout the month, events will be held across the Lafayette College campus and around the U.S. to raise awareness and foster greater understanding of LGBTQIA+ experiences and challenges—while promoting inclusivity, equality, and a sense of belonging for all. 

“To be effective in providing support and being an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, we have to be aware these are not passive acts,” says Jess Heske ’25, president of Lavender Lane and executive board member of OUT Lafayette. “It’s a constant process of learning and advocating for the community.” 

The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, Lavender Lane, OUT Lafayette, QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color), Athlete Ally, oSTEM (OUT in STEM), and various other offices and student organizations will be hosting a series of on-campus programs, workshops, and events throughout October—including an LGBTQIA+ History Keynote Luncheon on Oct. 5. A full and regularly updated list of this year’s events can be found on the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center website

Two Lafayette College students sitting on a couch in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center

Located in the Farinon College Center, Lafayette’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center is the home for all things centered around gender equity, feminism, and LGBTQIA+ inclusion. The GSRC is a central hub of activity and information for many students and organizations, and implements educational and social events for the entire campus community. During the academic year, the center is open during the day for students to access resources while also providing a safe space to gather socially. Pictured from left to right: Satuna Mowrin ’24 and Cate Cheng ’25

These events “provide valuable opportunities for open conversations about issues such as discrimination, gender identity, and sexual orientation, helping dispel stereotypes and prejudices,” says Tommy Lee, associate director for Gender and Sexuality Programs and the Office of Intercultural Development at Lafayette. 

Alex Granville ’25, who serves as vice president of QTPOC and vice president of internal affairs for Lavender Lane, adds that when people from all walks of life get involved, “it sends a clear message that all members of the community are valued and respected, and it helps create a safe and welcoming environment where individuals feel comfortable expressing themselves.” 

Close up of stickers representing support for LGBTQIA+ communityIn addition to participating in campus festivities, Lee says, there are many other ways Lafayette community members can advocate for change and be effective LGBTQIA+ allies. They include actively listening, using inclusive language, respecting pronouns, and challenging stereotypes. You also can support LGBTQIA+-owned businesses and donate to LGBTQIA+ organizations. 

Students who are interested in learning more and thinking critically about gender and sexuality, suggests Harper Will ’25, treasurer of OUT Lafayette, should also consider taking a course in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program, or engaging throughout the year with student groups such as OUT Lafayette, L-RAJE, oSTEM, and more.   

Lastly, Lee encourages Lafayette community members to stand up against LGBTQIA+ discrimination and bias. “Discrimination, anti-LGBTQIA+ politics, and violence against LGBTQIA+ individuals persist and, in many cases, are escalating,” he says. “These attacks underscore the urgency of our collective responsibility to protect and serve all members of our community. Now is not the time to retreat or take it easy; it’s the time to stand up, unite, and fight for a more inclusive and equitable society.”

Want to learn more about LGBTQIA+ history? Lee recommends these resources:

Categorized in: Campus life, Community, Community Impact, DEI and OID, Featured News, LGBTQIA+, News and Features