The Stonewall Tigers are planning a variety of activities to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month during the last week of October.
Unlike Pride month in June, which overlaps with Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBTQ+ History Month takes place the entire month of October.
The Stonewall Tigers Gender and Sexuality Alliance is a campus student organization that strives to create a safe and inclusive space regardless of gender and sexuality for all members of the Memphis community. They also aim to inform and educate University of Memphis students and faculty about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
Due to funding, the organization will celebrate the month exclusively during the last week of October, with scheduled events to celebrate and educate each day. According to the faculty advisor of the Stonewall Tigers, Chelsea Liddell, the eventual goal is to have an event every week in October.
"I think there's so much history to the LGBTQ rights movement that a lot of people aren't aware of," said Liddell. She has been part of the organization since 2020.
According to Liddell, the events at the Stonewall Inn that caused the Stonewall riots are widely known. However, the other historical moments and key figures who, too, played a role in what led to LGBTQ+ members having the rights they do today are not as well known.
Every year, the student organization chooses what to do for the month and what topics they want to highlight and teach.
These are the events for this year, according to Liddell.
"Monday, they're having inflatables on the lawn," said Liddell. "Tuesday, there's a sip and paint event; Wednesday, there's a tabling; Thursday is the movie night, and Friday will be the big drag show."
Liddel says LGBTQ+ History Month is also valuable due to visibility. Pride month takes place in June when the Stonewall riots occurred and celebrates that moment in history. However, there aren't nearly as many students on campus as in October.
"October is more about the education of the full history of the LGBTQ community," said Liddell.
LGBTQ+ history didn't start or end with the Stonewall riots, and October celebrates and teaches about more than just that single occurrence in history.
Liddell says, as with most heritage and history months, people should celebrate and acknowledge LGBTQ+ lives, presence, and contributions all year long rather than merely designate two months out of the year to these causes.
"If there were one thing I would wish for, it would be that our students were celebrated every single day for who they are," said Liddell.