Engaging in the Atlanta and Emory Communities: LGBTQ+ History Month 

By Paige Crowl, Teaching and Learning Librarian, Oxford College Library 

This LGBTQ+ History Month, learn about the past, then get out and get involved in our community! Broaden your knowledge of queer history and influence our present with this list. 

1. Learn about the history of pronouns

Did you know today, October 20th, is International Pronouns Day? International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects trans and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities. 

Pronouns have been a shifting part of the English language for over 250 years. Dennis Baron, a professor of linguistics at the University of Illinois, notes that the pronoun ‘ou’ was used as early as 1789. “‘Ou will’ expresses either he will, she will, or it will.” (Baron 1986). In 1934, the pronoun ‘thon’ was even added to the Merriam-Webster English dictionary, though it never really came into common usage. 

Read more about the history of pronouns in our International Pronouns Day blog post


2. Listen to the stories of important figures 

Our stories have been left out of the history books for too long, but podcasts like Making Gay History are bringing the insights of queer figures from the past to light. From the creators: 

“Making Gay History … addresses the absence of substantive, in-depth LGBTQ-inclusive American history from the public discourse and the classroom by providing a window into that history through the stories of the people who helped a despised minority take its rightful place in society as full and equal citizens. In so doing, MGH aims to encourage connection, pride, and solidarity within the LGBTQ community and to provide an entry point for both allies and the general public to its largely hidden history. 

The Making Gay History podcast mines Eric Marcus’s decades-old audio archive of rare interviews — conducted for his award-winning oral history of the LGBTQ civil rights movement — to create intimate, personal portraits of both known and long-forgotten champions, heroes, and witnesses to history.” 


3. Participate in a discussion on sexuality, gender, and race at Emory 

When discussing identity, we often talk about sexuality, gender, and race as separate and individual topics. The focus of the conversation is also usually situated from a lens of privilege. However, people are not monoliths. They are not gay or lesbian or female or male or White or Black. We must replace OR with AND. People’s identities are full and drawn from a number of intersections. We are also bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, Asian, Latine, Native, and so much more. 

Join the Emory community on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM ET for a rich discussion around the full extension of the LGBTQIAP+ community, its intersection with gender and race, and how these intersections show up in our lived experiences. 

Register here!