Message from the President: Celebrating LGBT History Month
Greetings UHD Gators,
The University of Houston-Downtown is committed to providing an inclusive and equity-driven environment for all students. We value diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, and in that spirit, I affirm LGBT History Month's importance as we work together toward these goals.
This month provides the chance to learn more about and better understand the journey of members of the LGBTQ community. It coincides with National Coming Out Day on October 11 and the anniversary of the first march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights in 1979. October also includes Spirit Day on October 21, in which people around the country wear purple in support of LGBTQ youth; Solidarity Week, in which people show support for those who are experiencing harm; and the anniversary of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard's murder, which led to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in 2009.
The month highlights and celebrates the history and achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people … and it reminds us that everyone is worthy of respect, rights and dignity.
One resource available to LGBTQ students and other members of the UHD community seeking to understand their experiences is the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Housed within the Center is the Gator Ally Program, which empowers students, faculty and staff to build a more inclusive, equitable and welcoming environment for all members of the UHD community, and particularly for LGBTQ people.
To honor LGBT History Month, the Center planned several events on campus and virtually. As one upcoming highlight, the Center will host a discussion on October 26 with Dr. Kristin Anderson about Dr. Evelyn Hooker, a researcher who disputed long-held beliefs about a correlation between homosexuality and mental illness. A full list of events is available online.
Further, UHD is home to several student groups where Gators can meet other like-minded people and find a place of belonging. Additionally, our Student Counseling Services are available to anyone in need of guidance or assistance in handling hardships.
Regardless of how you identify, we are connected by our common experiences as Gators. UHD will always be a place you can call home.
Loren J. Blanchard, Ph.D.
President, University of Houston-Downtown