Community Observes LGBT History Month


Amaechi Performance Systems

Amaechi addressed the community last Wednesday as part of LGBT History Month.

“Each of you with every interaction has the power to tell somebody who they are. You have the power to tell somebody you think they’re a sinner, the power to tell somebody, just with your face, with your interaction, you think them a monster, or not,” said John Amaechi, psychologist, author, and ex-NBA star who identifies as gay, when he addressed the community last Wednesday, October 28. Amaechi’s speech marked the end of programs recognizing this year’s LGBT History Month. 

LGBT History Month, which takes place in October, celebrates the people, achievements, and contributions of members of the LGBTQ+ community. Ms. Renée Marcellus, assistant director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), said, “LGBT History Month is an opportunity to educate our community and to support our LGBTQ+ community here. It’s incredibly important for us to have this programming and to really highlight these contributions. I am glad that we’re able to secure speakers and expose our students to not just alumni, but other influential adults outside of our community that they can identify with.”

The special programming for LGBT History Month began on October 8, with an event hosted by the Alumni Association Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Co-founder of LGBT History Month and CEO of Lamba Legal, an organization that works to serve LGBT patients with HIV, Kevin Jennings, whose activism helped lead to the designation of October as LGBT History Month, led a virtual discussion on the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States. The second guest speaker, John Amaechi, spoke about intersectionality, queerness, and the psychology behind the concept of identity during the all-school meeting on October 28. Luke Gardiner ’21, head of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), said, “Because of Zoom, we were actually quite lucky that we could have such a prestigious speaker at our all-school meeting talking about a whole range of topics.”

Amaechi told the community, “Each of you with every interaction has the power to tell somebody who they are.”

The GSA, the Black and Hispanic Student Association (BaHSA), and the Asian American Association (Triple A) held a joint meeting on October 22 to talk about intersectionality. Gardiner said, “It’s really important acknowledging intersectionality because often it’s something that is ignored in popular culture. You often see within the LGBTQ+ community that a white, gay man is usually propped up as the head of the LGBTQ+ movement when he’s just not representative of the overall population. So we really wanted to focus on intersectionality and show how the LGBTQ+ community within itself is diverse, whether that’s racially or socioeconomically.” 

In celebration of the month, school librarians curated a display of LGBTQ+ books in the main hallway outside the library, including memoirs of historical figures such as James Baldwin to novels written by LGBTQ+ authors and historical studies of LGBTQ+ communities. Ms. Kim Gnerre, assistant director of the Edsel Ford Memorial Library, said, “I hope people can come by, look at the books, check one out, and examine it more closely. I also hope the LGBTQ+ community sees that they are represented in some way with any of the displays that we put out because that is of the utmost importance.” 

LGBT History Month is not the only time for recognizing and celebrating members of the LGBTQ+ community. Eliza Ross ’22, head of GSA, said, “I think LGBT History month is mainly to recognize how much of our history was erased and how much we don’t talk about it now. More of our club’s activism efforts are towards the end of the year during Pride Week, whereas now it’s just mainly a time to learn.” 

Many look forward to larger events supporting LGBTQ+ communities during Pride Week in June.

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity.