Celebrating Pride 2020
During the month of June, we are listening, learning and celebrating in honor of Pride Month. And lucky for us, we have fantastic friends at the LGBTQA+ Resource Center to teach us about the importance of this month for the UNL community.
Meet JD McCown. JD is the assistant director at Nebraska’s LGBTQA+ Resource Center. As a former UNL undergrad and graduate student, they know all about UNL’s campus community and the effects of the LGBTQA+ Resource Center.
The LGBTQA+ Resource Center is an advocate for LGBTQA+ students, faculty and staff at UNL. When JD was a student, they were able to easily change their chosen name for class rosters and identification forms thanks to the center’s advocacy for this policy.
In addition to advocacy, the center compiles resources, presents education sessions and provides a space for the LGBTQA+ community on campus. During the month of June, they have been engaging with the university’s online community through social media posts sharing information on resources and virtual celebrations all in the name of Pride.
But while many may celebrate Pride — they might not know about where it began. Pride Month originates from the Stonewall Riots, which took place during June 1969. After the riots ended, the demonstrators took to the streets and marched in what would be known as the first Pride March in history. It was a time for them to stand up, declare their identities and demand their acceptance. Although Stonewall wasn’t the start of the LGBTQA+ movement, the Stonewall Riots pushed it into the spotlight and emboldened people to lend their support.
A Look Back: Pioneers of grace, social justice, and inclusion at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Born in Port Colborne, Ontario, Dr. Louis Crompton joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the 50s and quickly became an inspiring figure. He started the second gay studies course in the country, became the faculty advisor for the Gay Action Group (now Spectrum UNL), helped to found the UNL Homophobia Awareness Committee which would become the Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns, and co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Caucus of the Modern Language Association.
Louis Crompton spent much of his career working for social justice and inclusion for students, staff and faculty at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and to educate others to inspire this type of environment. The university honors the legacy of Louis and his husband Luis Diaz-Perdomo — who worked in Counseling and Psychological Services and facilitated the Gay Men’s Discussion Group — with a scholarship each year.
Now, with COVID-19, Pride looks a little different. But that isn’t stopping JD, or the LGBTQA+ community.
“This is Pride Month and we deserve to be able to talk about our identities,” JD said, “And if we can’t do that in huge groups, we can still do that with small groups — we can still find other ways to celebrate.”
For small ways to celebrate Pride in a socially distant world, JD recommends getting a group together to read an LGBTQA+ book or to watch a movie. For even more community interaction and celebration, there are online Pride parades, drag bingo parties and more being hosted throughout the month.
Want to know more about how you celebrate and learn more? Here are a few options:
- Learn about LGBTQA+ history at UNL: UNL was one of the first colleges to introduce a course on gay studies. This was led by faculty member Louis Crompton, who was faced with prejudice and backlash as he pioneered this curriculum.
- Star City Pride is hosting their virtual Pride parade on June 20.
- Join OutNebraska for a virtual book club through the end of August.
- UNL alum Keith Buswell is teaching a virtual printmaking workshop on July 12 and sharing the role art plays in activism with OutNebraska and the South of Downtown Community Development Organization. Learn more here.
- Spotify has a playlist of educational podcasts that connect listeners with voices from the LGBTQA+ community.
- Check out Netflix’s Pride collection.
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