October is LGBTQ+ History Month—originally founded as LGBT Month in 1994 by Rodney Wilson, an openly gay high school teacher in Missouri.
“You may be wondering, doesn’t the LGBTQ+ community celebrate Pride in June? Yes, however, celebrating can happen more than once a year,” writes Dhy Edwardsberry 25EvMBA, business librarian at Goizueta Business Library and co-chair of the Black Library Professional Group at Emory Libraries, on the Emory University Libraries Scholar Blog.
In fact, October reflects significant milestones for the LGBTQ+ community, including the first and second LGBT March on Washington in 1979 and 1987 and National Coming Out Day, an annual day of awareness on October 11.
Goizueta Students and Staff Reflect on Their Own Experiences During National Coming Out Day
For each individual, the decision to “come out” holds a different meaning. Charis Brooks 23MBA explained, “Coming out to me means a continuous journey of courage, vulnerability, defiance, acceptance, and celebration. It has given me profound experiences that have transformed my perception of true liberation.”
Coming out has allowed me to live life on my own terms—strengthening my relationships with friends, family, and loved ones by being authentically me each and every day.Patrick Kelley 23MBA
As the first openly transgender person to graduate from Goizueta in 2016, Jamie Harrell 16EMBA, business intelligence and analytics lead at Goizueta, shares, “I’m very proud of the work we continue to do to make sure all students feel welcomed. When I came out, [the late] Professor Ted Rodgers simply asked, ‘What pronouns do you use?’ He then changed the course syllabus to ensure it included language that gave people permission to correct him if he ever used the wrong name or pronouns. When then Vice Dean Doug Bowman reintroduced me to my cohort using my new name and pronouns, the room erupted in applause. That was life changing for me. I have never felt as welcomed and validated as I did in that moment.”
Resources on Campus
The Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library LGBTQ Collections document the work of activists, organizations, and trailblazing political figures to achieve equality. The social and cultural collections include the personal papers of artists and writers as well as the records of social organizations and businesses. It also includes rare books, pamphlets, and periodicals written by and for the LGBTQ community.
Located in the Emory Student Center, the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Life seeks to engage the university community in the creation of an affirming and just-campus environment while supporting the development of students of all gender and sexual identities. Resources are available for legal issues, health, laws and policies, leadership development and funding, professional development and academics, and spiritual and religious needs.