October showcases LGBT, Hispanic heritage

This month, the Puget Sound community celebrates October as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) History Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month, which ends today and began on Sept. 15.  B-GLAD (Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians and Allies of Diversity) and CHispA (Community for Hispanic Awareness) have planned various events throughout the month.  These student run clubs are co-sponsoring a showing of the movie “Fresas y chocolate,” a movie highlighting the gay movement in Cuba, and CHispA is holding salsa dancing lessons in Kilworth Chapel.  On Oct. 11, B-GLAD recognized National Coming Out Day by painting a door purple and allowing people to come out of it.  People of all sexual orientations were encouraged to come out in some way.

According to Czarina Ramsay, a Puget Sound alum and the Director of Multicultural Student Services, these events “allow us to reflect upon, learn, and celebrate underrepresented groups.  I hope the events will be thought-provoking and interesting.”  She also said, “Heritage months are really important opportunities to have tangible interactions with the history of a community in a public way.  They help us form better relationships with each other across the board.”  Ramsay operates the Student Diversity Center, coordinates multicultural engagement on campus and advocates for underrepresented groups.

Along with creating events, B-GLAD and CHispA have made posters that educate the campus about the history of their respective groups.  CHispA’s poster, which is near the tray return area of the S.U.B., features famous Hispanics, including Sonia Sotomayor, George Lopez and Shakira.  B-GLAD has placed several posters in the S.U.B. piano lounge, each highlighting a famous queer, as well as a calendar adorned with rainbows and other colorful decorations. Some people featured in the posters include Guillermo del Toro, George Washington Carver, and Frida Kahlo.

LGBT History Month was first conceived in 1994 by a high school teacher from Missouri named Rodney Wilson.  According to, Wilson “believed a month should be dedicated to the celebration and teaching of GLBT history, and gathered together other teachers and community leaders.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month aims to celebrate the contributions of Americans who have ancestors from Mexico, Spain and Central and South America.  It began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and became National Hispanic Heritage Month in 1988.  National Hispanic Heritage Month is from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 because several important dates fall within this period, including the anniversaries of independence of seven Latin American countries and Columbus Day.

Ramsay noted that Oct. 12 was Indigenous Peoples Day and that next month, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Native History Month and Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday honoring ancestors, will be celebrated.