October is LGBTQ+ History Month

Students celebrate LGBTQ+ history. Rachael Nelson photo.

LGBTQ+ History Month takes place during October. The month celebrates the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer icons, with one new person being featured each day, from October 1-31.

The month of October was selected because traditions like Coming Out Day, which is on October 11, occur that month. LGBTQ+ History Month now also includes Ally Week where students are encouraged to be allied with LGBTQ+ members and stand up against bullying. 

LGBTQ+ History Month provides role models who represent the LGBTQ+ community, creates opportunities to learn about the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, and helps in building communities. To learn more about LGBTQ+ History Month and the icons that are featured during the month, you can visit lgbthistorymonth.com.

To become allied with LGBTQ+ members at Southeast Polk high school and support the community, students can join the school club, GSA (Gay Straight Alliance).

The club started meeting on September 28 this school year. It meets every Wednesday after school in room 143 from 3:10-4:00 p.m. 

During meetings, they do fun activities as a group that facilitate connections and relationships. The club aims to spread awareness about LGBTQ+ hate and strives to create a positive and judgment-free environment. 

“My favorite thing about the club is being able to interact with everyone and to be able to talk to people and not worry about anyone being mean,” said junior Sparrow Kennedy. “It’s a hate-free zone and everyone is welcome.”

The club is sponsored by science teachers Rachel Russell and Rebecca Wildman-Swartz. Both teachers encourage their students to be authentically themselves and provide them with a safe environment to do so.

“It is my hope that there are other allies out there who want to create a space for everyone to feel safe and happy,” said Wildman-Swartz. “Everyone has qualities that make them unique and this uniqueness helps everyone learn and just be nice people.”

Students can join by just showing up and participating. They encourage students to join by spreading their message throughout the school.

“If there are any students out there that would love to join a group that won’t judge or just needs a space to feel safe, we would love for you to join us,” Wildman-Swartz said. “The person that you are is the most important thing about you!”

Overall, both student members and sponsors of the club feel GSA has a positive impact on Southeast Polk High School and feel the message it spreads is important.

“In my opinion, the club is important because LGBTQ voices aren’t heard enough by everyone, so through this club, we can be heard by others,” said Kennedy.