LGBTQ History Month celebrated at Penn State with events throughout October

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa — October marks a month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, as well as the larger queer rights movement. Penn State’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month with activities including workshops, informative webinars, and much more. In addition, events will be held at campuses across the commonwealth.

This list will be updated as new events are added throughout the month.


The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (CSGD) is hosting several activities. More information about these events is available at the CSGD website — stay tuned for any updated events throughout the month.

Oct. 1, at noon (webinar, passcode: 203413) — The month kicks off with “Beyond Stonewall: A History of Queer Activism,” presented by Collaborate Consulting and facilitated by Samy Nour Figaredo. The interactive webinar will examine queer movements before and after Stonewall.

Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. (livestreamed) — Join the Borough of State College at the Oct. 5 council meeting to watch the announcement of proclamations for October’s LGBTQ+ History Month and November’s Transgender Awareness Month. Meetings are aired on Channel 7 and simultaneously live streamed on C-NET.

Oct 12, at time TBD (virtual) — CSGD staff and students invite the greater Penn State community to view the virtual annual history month rally celebrating pride within our Penn State community. Student leaders and various members of the larger Penn State LGBTQ+ community and their allies will say a few words or share stories of support, engage in community reflection and advocate for change.

Oct. 12 — 6:30 p.m. (virtual) — In addition, join CSGD that same evening for a co-sponsored event with the Gender Equity Center, presenting Ryan Jamaal Swain, breakout star of FX’s Golden Globe-nominated series, “Pose.” Swain is a triple-threat actor, dancer and singer who was named to Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list for his LGBTQ+ activism. He has won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Damon, an ambitious aspiring dancer who, after being kicked out of his home for being gay, becomes part of a self-selected family in New York City’s ’80s-era queer ballroom scene. “Pose,” which has been widely praised for its portrayal of queer and trans people of color, catapulted the frequent off-Broadway actor into the media spotlight. Swain will share his story of coming out and what LGBTQ history month means to him. 

Oct. 14, at 5 p.m. (webinar, link coming soon) — As our keynote speaker for LGBTQ+ History Month, CSGD will welcome Blair Imani, a critically acclaimed historian, outspoken advocate and activist, and dynamic public speaker, presenting “Intersecting Movements.” The author of two historical books — “Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History” (2018) and “Making Our Way Home: The Great Migration and The Black American Dream” (2020) — she centers women and girls, global Black communities, and the LGBTQ community. Imani uses her presence on social media through Instagram to educate audiences about a variety of topics. She will be joining us virtually to discuss the state of our country and advocacy around race and gender during a pandemic.

Oct. 21, 3 p.m. (webinar, link coming soon) — As we conclude October, the center welcomes Raquel Saraswati to present her “Strength and Power: Healing for POC Communities.” In this session, students, faculty and staff of color will have an opportunity to share their experiences and receive affirmation, care and guidance as they navigate the higher-education experience. While all people of color are encouraged to attend and share, this session will center the experience of Black students, faculty and staff and will be co-presented with a Black facilitator.

In addition, the following Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity-hosted events will be held in October. In-person events require participants to follow all masking and social distancing rules. Visit the CSGD website for more information:

  • Oct. 6, at 9 a.m. (webinar)Safer People Safer Places Foundations Workshop for faculty, staff, and graduate students
  • Oct. 7, at 5 p.m. (HUB-Robeson Center)Late Night in the Center: Scavenger Hunt
  • Oct. 21, at 5 p.m. (LL011 HUB) — Late Night in the Center: Pronouns Matter
  • Oct. 28, at 5 p.m. (The Arboretum at Penn State)Late Night in the Center: Child’s Play at the Arboretum


Oct. 9, at 12:15–1:15 p.m. (location TBD)National Coming Out Day celebration


Submissions due Oct. 11 at 11:59 p.m. — Student Art Competition

Students are invited to submit original artwork — photography, drawing, painting, sculpture, poetry, music, fashion, dance, makeup, crafts — inspired by an LGBTQ+ cultural or historical figure, with a short paragraph describing your piece and its inspiration. Co-sponsored by the Berks Diversity Committee and Rainbow Alliance Club, prizes will be awarded for the top three winning entries. Contact Colleen Tillger,, for more information.


Oct. 15, at 4–5 p.m. (Zoom) — Liz Glazer-Comedian, writer, actor, and former law professor, co-sponsored by OutLaw and Public Interest Law Fund. For more information, contact Julie Cummings at


Oct. 12, at 12:15 p.m. (webinar) — Student Ally Training — Students are invited to a training on how to be a better ally. The training will empower students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses as an ally, respond to acts of bias, and advocate on behalf of LGBTQ+ peers. For registration and more information contact Rebecca Pennington at

Oct. 12, at 12:15 p.m. — National Coming Out Day Tabling — Giveaways will be available. For planning information contact Brittany Martin at and for information the day of the event, contact Marcie Brubaker at

Oct. 13, at 12:15 p.m. — Hayden Kristal is a Brooklyn-based former zookeeper who gave up a lucrative career in salamanders to pursue comedy and public speaking. Kristal will be discussing diversity and intersectionality. For more information contact Brittany Martin at

Oct. 14, at 12:15 p.m. — LGBTQ+ Discussion Group — This is a safe space to come together with others that identify similarly to discuss life issues, coming out experiences, relationships and sometimes just day to day things that are happening in their lives.  Please encourage students to attend. While Allies are an important part of our campus support, this is not a group for Allies. Contact Rebecca Pennington,, for more information.


Oct. 9 and 12 (Williams Building, lower level, in front of the Student Center) — Tabling event to bring awareness to the LGBTQ+ community as well as National Coming Out Day. Presented by Pride Alliance Working for Students (PAWS), tabling will include swag and informational materials related to coming out, being an ally, and more. For more information contact Brandon Demchak, PAWS president,; or Amanda Collins, PAWS adviser,

Oct. 12 through Oct. 16 —  LGBTQ+ Social Media Education Week — Join Pride Alliance Working for Students (PAWS) in their LGBTQ+ Social Media Education campaign: Follow @pawsfe on Instagram and learn about terms, history, facts and more. Presented by members of PAWS, faculty and staff. For more information contact Brandon Demchak, PAWS president,; or Amanda Collins, PAWS adviser,

Pride Alliance Working for Students (PAWS) will be hosting a movie screening of “Love, Simon.” Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon Spier, it’s a little more complicated. He hasn’t told his family or friends that he’s gay, and he doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate that he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. For more information contact Brandon Demchak, PAWS president,; or Amanda Collins, PAWS adviser,

Oct. 15, at 12:15 p.m. (Zoom) — “Spirit and Sexuality” with Mikah Meyer. “You can’t be gay and Christian!”: Growing up the son of a minister, Mikah Meyer heard this statement his entire life. After years of traveling the world and studying religion, his journey allowed him to accept his identities and use his world-record national park project to be a platform for LGBT Christians around the globe. In honor of National Coming Out Day, join us virtually to hear how Meyer’s identities played a vital role in his success. For more information contact


Oct. 12 , at 11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. — Coming Out Day Table — Drop by the Student Life table in the Junction Lobby to grab Penn State Pride materials as we recognize National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) and LGBTQ History Month. For more information, contact Evan Ditty,

Oct. 22, at noon–1 p.m. — Student Ally Training — Students are invited to attend and learn how to be better allies to their peers who identify as LGBTQ+ both on campus and in their lives. Students should register by contacting Evan Ditty at


Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. — National Coming Out Day celebration — LGBTQA+ Club’s leaders will discuss the club’s mission, initiatives and recent achievements, as well as the significance of National Coming out Day. There will also be a short online poll/game, and remarks by Assistant Professor of Psychology Doyle Tate regarding his research on LGBTQA topics. Register here for the event.


Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. (Zoom) —  Spoken Word Artist, Katie Wirsing — Wirsing is a loud advocate for trans rights, feminism, mental health awareness and doing your darndest to find love through it all. Never afraid of the difficult truths, her show is one-part pride parade, one-part therapy session, one-part rally cry and a million parts healing. This event will be delivered via Zoom at this link. For more information, contact Jackie W-Piatt at

Additional observances and celebrations

In addition to the activities during the month there will also be national and international observances and celebrations around sexual and gender diversity including, but not limited to:

Stay tuned to the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity’s website for any updated events. 

About the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity provides advocacy and support along with colleague units in Student Affairs for those studying at University Park and across Penn State’s campuses. Call 814-863-1248 or e-mail for more information. 

Looking for community connection while virtual? Please join the CSGD Community Discord. For resources that might be helpful wherever you might be located geographically right now, visit the center’s website.