Interim President's Message: UHD Honors LGBTQIA History Month
Good day, Gators!
You're all aware that UHD is an institution that embraces diversity, inclusivity and the rich cultures that define our great city. Bearing that in mind, I am proud to announce that our university will again observe LGBTQIA History Month (also commonly known as LGBT History Month) in October.
Each year, our nation celebrates those heroes, educators and activists, who have fought and advocated for equal rights and fair treatment for their respective communities. At UHD, we too recognize these individuals within our curriculum, our texts in our outstanding W.I. Dykes Library and in special programming coordinated by the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. This month, the Center will host virtual events at 12:30 on Oct. 7 (LGBTQIA Jeopardy); Oct. 12 (National Coming Out Day); and Oct. 21 (Why Drag?: The Social Importance of Drag in the LGTBQ Movement). More details are available on the Center for Diversity & Inclusion website.
It is only fitting that a scholar served as the impetus for this celebratory month in 1994. History teacher and then-graduate student Rodney Wilson came out to his class at Mehlville High School (near St. Louis) during a lecture on the Holocaust. He became the first openly Gay K-12 teacher in the state of Missouri and went on to publish the first article about Gay History published by Missouri Historical Society. His efforts also led to his alma mater The University of Missouri-Saint Louis becoming the first college to host a Gay History Month event.
Through his passion and perseverance, this month has grown into a national movement that continues to facilitate education, awareness and most importantly, a formal recognition of those who have contributed much to our world.
Thank you to those icons and trailblazers (including Rodney Wilson) who made LGBTQIA History Month possible, and thank you, Gators for your unending dedication to diversity at our institution.
Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D.
University of Houston-Downtown