Celebrate Pride: “It is OK to be yourself and who you are”

June is LGBTQ Pride Month. Pride month is celebrated in June to honor the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City in 1969. The Stonewall Riots were a significant development in the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or Queer) community. In honor of Pride Month, here is a page from the 1994 Bomb, Iowa State University’s yearbook, that describes the National Coming out Day rally on campus on October 11, 1994.

Caption for photograph of a white male in top right part of page: lgb student services coordinator christopher james speaks about being bisexual at coming out day. photo by mike king. "LGBA: taking the next step" by theresa wilson. While diversity became a dominant issue on campus, the issue of acceptance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans gender persons remained hidden. At least it did until one day in October when the LGB community took center stage. The Lesbian/ Gay /Bisexual Alliance held its annual Coming Out Day Oct. II, in conjuntion with National Coming Out Day. Approximately 100 students, faculty and staff attended a rally south of the Campanile to show their support for the LGB community. Speakers encouraged people to "come out" to friends, relatives and acquaintances. The theme of the event was "Taking the Next Step." LGBA Vice President Chuck Bevolo, one of the organizers of Coming Out Day, said the theme had many connotations. "It entails a lot of different things," Bevolo said. "It means something different for each person. Taking the next step can mean coming out of the closet to yourself and to your friends. It can mean telling someone else you care about what you have already told your family and friends so they know what you do. It can mean becoming active. It involves the coming out process, a process of steps that you must take one at a time." People from throughout the campus and the state of Iowa spoke at the rally. Bill Crews, mayor of Melborne, Iowa, encouraged people to be active in supporting the LGB community. Celia Naylor-Ojurongbe, adviser for the Margaret Sloss Women's Center, read a poem written for the rally. Speakers discussed the different aspects of being a lebian, gay, bisexual or trans gender person. LGBA also presented a Tuesday Topic session at the Margaret Sloss Women's Center and held a social dinner at Pizza Kitchens. Jeanine Bessette, LGBS adviser, attended the rally and said she found comfort in being surrounded by people who supported her lifestyle. "The Coming Out Day rally is a day of celebration in my life and a day that says it is OK to be who you are. It gives the opportunity to come out to people and let people know. It gives the LGB community a chance to celebrate who they are." "I really enjoyed the speakers from all different walks of life. They talked about their personal experiences. Allies talked about their support and working for our rights. I just liked the atmosphere." Bevolo said one message dominated the rally. "The predominant message was that it is OK to be lesbian, gay or bisexual and it is OK to be yourself and who you are. Doing that means being honest with yourself, your friends and your family. It is not always easy and it is not always pleasant, but it must be done, and people are willing to help."

 

At the end of the page, Chuck Bevolo, the LGBA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Alliance) Vice President said:

The predominant message was that it is OK to be lesbian, gay or bisexual and it is OK to be yourself and who you are.

Below are some current Iowa State University LGBTQIAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, Ally)  student organizations and resources:

The Iowa State University LGBTQA+ Faculty & Staff Association was created for faculty & staff who are supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.

For more information on the history of LGBTQ+ student organizations at Iowa State, check out a prior blog post “LGBT Month” written in 2015. Or drop by our reading room to conduct more research. We’re open Monday-Friday from 9-5.

One thought on “Celebrate Pride: “It is OK to be yourself and who you are”

  1. Pingback: Pride Month: A Look Back | Cardinal Tales

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