UCF celebrates LGBTQ history with a month of events

By : Rachel Dececco
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ORLANDO | “Our history did not begin with Stonewall, but our movement began there.”

These were the words that kicked off the opening ceremonies for LGBTQ History Month at the University of Central Florida Oct. 3.

Students, teachers and representatives from different facets of the LGBTQ community gathered to celebrate the young, but powerful history of the LGBTQ rights movement that started some 50 years ago.

The attendees were provided with a complimentary breakfast and serenaded by a playlist of Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Beyonce as they eagerly awaited the start of the celebration.

The opening ceremonies for LGBTQ History Month has been an honored tradition at UCF. The campus has boasted many celebrity guests such as comedian Lea DeLaria and singer Todrick Hall. This year the ceremony was made more personal as UCF Students and prominent figures in the community stood at the podium to tell their own stories.

As each individual took the stage, a new topic was addressed regarding an important aspect of our history. The struggles of the leaders and activists who began the movement, the strides we have made in gaining recognition as a social culture and the progress we have yet to make were among the points discussed.

“It was so empowering and gratifying to be a part of and watch,” says Gina Duncan, Director of Transgender Equality for Equality Florida.

As LGBTQ history is something that’s not discussed or taught in the public-school system, Duncan applauded universities like UCF that act as safe spaces for young members of the community and facilitate the discussion of such topics.

“Colleges can be a leader in society in educating on other segments in society. They are templates that others should be emulating,” Duncan says.

After a heartwarming and personal anecdote about her own struggle transitioning later in life, Duncan left the ceremony feeling “hopeful for the future.”

Casey Lee, a freshman and information technology major at UCF who attended the event, said they enjoyed hearing the stories and advice fellow queer students could provide.

“I appreciate everything UCF does and is doing for the LGBT student body,” Lee says. “As cliché as it sounds, UCF really does make us feel like a family.”

Among the guest speakers were representatives from the Pride Student Association at UCF and representatives from Equality Florida, as well as a performance by members of UCF’s Glee Club.

The Opening ceremony for LGBTQ History Month was one of many events being hosted by the university’s Multicultural Services and the Pride Student Association. Other events include a National Coming Out Day celebration Oct. 11, an appearance from YouTube personality Kat Blaque and an amateur drag show Oct. 25.

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