Celebrating the LGBTQ+ Community at UHart

October 09, 2023
Submitted By: Office of Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement
Pride H

UHart celebrates and observes National LGBTQ+ History Month each October. This month provides an opportunity for our community to learn more about and celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, non-binary, and non-conforming identities.

LGBTQ+ month was originally known as Gay and Lesbian History Month. Additional identity acronyms were added over time to increase inclusivity of LGBTQ+ communities. First observed in 1994 by high school teacher Rodney Wilson, October was selected to coincide with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 1, and Oct. 14, the date of the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1979.

At a time when attempts are being made to erase our community through anti-LGBTQ bills, book banning, and the elimination of access to health care for our trans community members, it is more imperative than ever that we as a community educate ourselves.  

Please see a listing of resources that will help to raise awareness and offer support to queer and trans students, staff, and faculty and promote a sense of inclusion and belonging on campus and beyond.

The Importance of Personal Pronouns

Pronouns are used in everyday speech and writing to take the place of people's names. We frequently use them without thinking about it. Like names, pronouns are an important part of our identity and deserve to be respected. Often, when speaking of someone in the third person, these pronouns have a gender implied. We cannot always know what someone's gender pronoun is by looking at them. These associations are not always accurate or helpful. Mistaking or assuming peoples' pronouns without asking first, may mistake their gender and could send a harmful message. When someone is referred to with the wrong pronoun, it can make them feel disrespected, invalidated, dismissed, alienated, or hurt. Pronouns come in many forms. They are linguistic tools that is used to refer to people, such as they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, and he/him/his. 

  • Asking our community members what their gender pronouns are and consistently making use of them correctly is one the most basic ways to show your respect for their gender identity.  
  • Discussing and correctly using gender pronouns helps to set the tone of allyship. It can make all of the difference, especially for new community members who may feel particularly vulnerable in a new environment

How can I be Inclusive in using and Respecting Gender Pronouns?

Strategies to incorporate gender pronouns in everyday use:

Edit your email signature to include your pronouns.

Verbal introductions and check-ins are great opportunities to solicit gender pronouns. As names and pronouns can change over time, it is preferable to regularly incorporate these questions into meetings and introductions. Asking about a person's pronouns may initially feel awkward or uncomfortable, but it is preferable to making hurtful assumptions and using the wrong pronoun. Here are some ways you can do this: 

  • "What pronouns do you use?"
  • "How would you like me to refer to you?"
  • "How would you like to be addressed?"
  • "Can you remind me which pronouns you like for yourself?"
  • "My name is Joshua and my pronouns are he, him, and his. What about you?"
  • Wear your pronouns sticker on your lapel.

"So, I made a mistake!"

  • While we want to do our best to use someone’s correct pronouns, mistakes can happen. If this does happen, it is best to apologize, say what pronoun you meant to use, and move on without dwelling on the mistake.
  • Overly apologizing puts the other person (the person who was just misgendered) in an uncomfortable position. Some people in this position might feel pressured to say, “It’s okay,” even though it’s not. Using the wrong pronouns can be incredibly harmful.

Resources for Learning:

The History of the Pride Symbol, The Smithsonian - 

Video - 

Podcasts - 

In celebration of LGBTQ History Month, our podcast episode this month is The Lavender Scare from NPR's Throughline. The episode aired August 10, 2023. Starting in the 1950s, thousands became victims of a purge on gay and lesbian federal employees, ordered at the highest levels of the U.S. government, through a program spurred by a panic that destroyed careers and lives and lasted more than 40 years. Today, it's known as the "Lavender Scare." In a moment when LGBTQ+ rights are again in the public crosshairs, we tell the story of the Lavender Scare: its victims, its proponents, and a man who fought for decades to end it.

Online Resources - 

LGBTQ+ Events in the Community -