Skip to main content

Past Pride & History Months

Transitioning to LGBTQ+ History Month

LGBTQ+ History month was founded by high school teacher Rodney Wilson in 1994 to highlight Queer histories that are often ignored or banned in school classrooms. LGBTQ+ History month, which takes place annually throughout October, is separate from LGBTQ+ Pride Month in June and intentionally coincides with the first March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights on October 14th, 1979 and National Coming out Day on October 11th. Our Queer ancestors fought and won many victories for our liberation, but struggles from our history are re-emerging in our present, from transphobic anti-drag legislation to Hays Code reminiscent book bans. 

Despite the cruelty that Queer people have faced, our community has always been resilient and fierce. Trans women, drag queens and sex workers fought against police harassment from Compton’s Cafeteria in San Francisco to the Stonewall Inn in New York. Black artists created communities of found families in the Voguing scene to support each other. ACT UP staged protests and die-ins to secure more access to life-saving medication for women and people of color throughout the AIDS epidemic. Though hidden, our history is one of survival - we are Queer, we have always been here, and we will forever be here.

From this year forward, the University of Maryland’s Pride month celebrations are transitioning into LGBTQ+ History month in October in order to emphasize our communities’ struggles and solidarity in our shared pasts. In continuing our theme of “Love me Tender, Love me Queer” throughout October, we acknowledge that our community’s love for each other has been essential for our survival throughout history. No matter how often our communities must face these struggles, we will continue our ancestors’ fight in order to create for our Queer descendants a bright, loving, inclusive and fearless future!

2023 Theme: Love Me Tender, Love Me Queer

Tenderness is made possible by courage. We celebrate the softness needed for self-discovery, healing, and growth. The comfort found in community carries us through trauma. Our vulnerability is our strength.

We wear our scars proudly, but we are not defined by them. Hate can rear its head in the form of bullets or bills, but love reveals a path through tough times. When hope feels scarce, we turn to the open arms of our beloveds, we rest, and we remember that our fierceness cannot be contained by the shackles of bigotry. We are resilient, even though we should not have to be.

Progress is only possible because our elders have paved the way. The institutions of this settler-colonial state only acknowledged our humanity because fifty years ago, drag queens and sex workers threw bricks at cops. We celebrate the legacy of those who left us too early and give our roses to the living legends who are still here. Fifty years later, we reaffirm that there is no pride for some of us without justice for all of us.

In these halls of learning, we commit to the discomfort of unlearning our own ignorance. We must interrogate our own complicity in a system that leaves the queer and trans visionaries of our time struggling to pay rent. Only then can we begin to create the just future we deserve. We are united in the journey toward our shared liberation.

We shine bright. We treasure our soft, strong hearts. We are enough, and we are beautiful.

Pride Month 2022: Breaking Out of the Shell

Throughout three years of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the LGBTQ+ community has persevered through the unique challenges of finding connection through virtual spaces and online forums. This year, we embrace the opportunity to present our full, authentic selves after a challenging, yet reflective period in quarantine.

In this context, “breaking out of the shell” becomes more than overcoming inhibitions. It is an empowering act that recognizes the transformative process that so many LGBTQ+ individuals experience in their discovery of self-authenticity. It is a moment of visibility that presents a mosaic of intersecting identities that fortifies the heart of UMD’s community. As we use this moment to gather, this month’s theme poses the question: what “shells” have you broken out of? What “shells'' remain - as either shelter or confinement?

Too often in the LGBTQ+ community, the choice to truthfully present your authentic self is not given. For various legislative, social, and cultural reasons, the choice to live out one’s sexual orientation or gender expression becomes a subversive, and sometimes dangerous act. This Pride month, we celebrate all stages of this evolution. At the individual level, we champion the acts of bravery - big and small - to come into one’s self. At the collective level, we rally for an environment that cultivates true belonging instead of tolerance. To our community we ask: what can you do to allow for authenticity?

Back to Top