Even though October is officially known as LGBT History Month, Emerson’s Alliance for Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone decided to relabel it as Queer History Month for its yearly celebration.
Christopher Henderson-West, a sophomore and co-president of EAGLE, said he feels this change makes the month more inclusive.
“There’s so many letters that a plus sign doesn’t represent, so it’s not fair to just say ‘LGBTQ+,’” Henderson-West said. “Very seldomly do people say, ‘What does the plus stand for?’ or ‘What are the other letters after the plus?’ and there’s just so many sexual identities and ways people identify themselves. We felt it was easier and more inclusive of all identities.”
The month of educational festivities began with a presentation and discussion on the work of Emerson alumna Sarah Prager ‘12, who wrote Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World.
“We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just EAGLE that was [hosting events] involved with Queer History Month,” Henderson-West said. “There are also other organizations like SheCult that also deal with queer history and being part of that community.”
EAGLE also plans to host a discussion about being transgender and a part of the transgender community, and screen the documentary Paris is Burning. The month will end with Dragtoberfest, a celebration of drag culture featuring performances by Emerson students.
Scarlett Kyle Shiloh, a junior visual and media arts major, is one of the students performing in Dragtoberfest this year.
“I recently got out of two friendships that were less than good,” Shiloh said. “I was misgendered a lot, and they said I wasn’t trans, they said I wasn’t non-binary, and it felt like I was having my gender identity taken away from me. This Dragtoberfest is going to be a reclaiming of my identity.”
Queer History Month will end, but the spirit of the month should be kept alive all year according to Henderson-West.
“[Being queer] is not something to shun but to be embraced, to be proud of,” Henderson-West said. “The best way to help that cause is to inform and to educate, and bring people together.”