October a month for LGBTQ+ awareness, education

October is a month known for its chilly weather, Halloween costumes and the infamous pumpkin spice latte. However, Bradleys Office of Diversity and Inclusion hopes to bring attention to the months celebration of LGBTQ+ and its history.

With the roots of this annual recognition dating back to the year 1994, October became the designated month in the United States for both observing and celebrating the perpetuation of rights in the LGBTQ+ community.

In the U.S., October coincides with National Coming Out Day, which falls on Oct. 11. At Bradley, The Office of Diversity and Inclusion promoted the month of October as the month of LGBTQ+ recognition on campus. The offices efforts included educating students and faculty on the history of LGBTQ+ recognition month, as well as training the public to promote a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ community members.

Assistant Director of Diversity and Inclusion Sherry Gunn is one of those advocates educating the public. According to Gunn, October is a month meant to concentrate especially on spreading the word about LGBTQ+ acceptance.

[We covered] a lot of material that will focus on understanding LGBTQ+ terminology, the coming out process and gender identity, Gunn said. My goal is to provide people with information that will help them connect and better understand LGBTQ+ identities and experiences.

In an effort to reduce misconceptions and stereotypes of the LGBTQ+ community, Gunn said techniques, such as safe training, aim to decrease the stigmas surrounding LGBTQ+.

It’s important to educate the Bradley Community to create a more welcoming and inclusive place for LGBTQ+ students, faculty and staff, Gunn said. We want to provide Safe Zones, which are areas on and around campus where supportive people provide information and work toward the elimination of myths, misconceptions and stereotypes [of the LGTBQ+ community].

Among the students working to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity on campus is Camille Sanders, Student Senate vice president for diversity and inclusion.

“LGBTQ+ covers a variety of identities, so it means a lot of people relate to it,” Sanders said. “We need to have an inclusive environment because sexuality and gender identity are personal topics that affect people around us, without us knowing [since they keep it to themselves]. Because we do not know who it affects, we need to make sure we are all educated on a sensitive topic.”

For students interested in learning more about inclusivity education opportunities, contact the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at (309) 677-2646.