Indiana Daily Student

IUSG partners with LGBTQ+ Culture Center to promote diversity, inclusion

<p>The LGBTQ+ Culture Center is located at 705 E. Seventh St. The center partnered with Indiana University Student Government to organize educational programs and social events celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month. </p>

The LGBTQ+ Culture Center is located at 705 E. Seventh St. The center partnered with Indiana University Student Government to organize educational programs and social events celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month.

IU Student Government partnered with the LGBTQ+ Culture Center to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month in October and spread promotional information. 

During October, IUSG provided the LGBTQ+ Culture Center with marketing materials and helped organize educational programs and social events celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month. The center organized a Halloween party, keynote speeches and a webinar, according to the center’s website. IUSG shared information about the events and LGBTQ+ History Month on social media.

IUSG President Ky Freeman said LGBTQ+ History Month is about celebrating identity development and the recognition of queer people in history, like Marsha P. Johnson, a gay liberation activist, and James Baldwin, a writer and activist, who have contributed immensely to the country and society. 

“LGBTQ+ History Month lets me know that there are historical precedents for the things that I’m doing, and it gives me a framework for me to live in my truth unapologetically in today’s society,” Freeman said. “It lets me know that I am worthy, I am enough and I am capable.”

IUSG is working with culture centers on campus as part of a cultural heritage month awareness initiative to increase students’ sense of belonging at IU, Freeman said. 

IUSG has communicated with culture center directors and staff to benefit students during cultural heritage months, Freeman said. IUSG worked with the La Casa Latino Cultural Center during Hispanic-Latinx Heritage Month Sept.15 to Oct.15, providing promotional shirts, stickers and books. 

“There is no bound to the help that we will provide to make sure that students feel like they belong on this campus and that IU is home for them,” Freeman said

Freeman said he wants to increase awareness about the on-campus culture centers to promote cultural confidence for students. 

“The goal is letting students know that they have a home, a place where they are going to be loved, a place where they are going to be accepted, a place where they are going to be able to learn more about their identity,” Freeman said. “It is making sure that they’re aware of the spaces and communities that they have that make this big campus small.”

LGBTQ+ Culture Center interim director Bruce Smail said LGBTQ+ History Month gives the university an opportunity to focus on LGBTQ+ issues and how diverse the community is. Unlike Pride Month which is celebrated in June, LGBTQ+ History Month is during the school year, so it allows colleges to participate in the celebration of LGBTQ+ history and diverse identities. 

“It is really about support for the community and helping the community become visible,” Smail said. “It is also about educating the IU campus in terms of how to be supportive of the LGBTQ+ community.”

Enhancing the relationship between the culture center and IUSG will help create a more inclusive campus for the LGBTQ+ community, Smail said. This is the first time under Smail, who was appointed in January 2020, that the center is able to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride or History Month in person due to the pandemic. 

“There are so many different intersections within our community and such a wide range of identities,” Smail said. “As folks participate in any of our programs, it's my hope that they see many other aspects of identity that they may have not known of before.”

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