LGBTQ History Month celebrated at Penn State with events throughout October

September 30, 2020

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.

All in-person events require participants to follow the University's masking and social distancing rules. This list will be updated as new events are added throughout the month.

Penn State was once again recognized as one of Campus Pride's "Best of the Best" Top 40 LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities for student support and commitment to LGBTQ issues. Penn State received an overall five out of five stars in the Campus Pride Index based on institutional policies and dedication to sexual and gender diversity.


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) — 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. 30, at 9 p.m. (Zoom) — Best known for their signature dots on the Emmy Award Winning Season 10 of "RuPaul’s Drag Race," Dusty Ray Bottoms will offer a Zombie Makeup Tutorial just in time for Halloween. Register through Connect.


Oct. 9, at 12:15–1:15 p.m. (Food Service Building, Bistro dining area)National Coming Out Day celebration and tabling event.


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. 21, at 12:15–1:15 p.m. (Zoom link) "Why Pronouns Matter" — Oct. 21 is International Pronouns Day, which seeks to make respecting, sharing and educating about personal pronouns a commonplace practice. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity; being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities. Bring your lunch to this virtual event for a brief overview of pronouns, why they matter, and how best to use them, followed by moderated discussion. For more information, email


Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. (Zoom) — In collaboration with the Lilley Library, Behrend's Gender and Sexuality Equality club presents [lit]Erotica, a virtual evening of literary analysis centering on published works of queer erotica, with a focus on themes of gender and sexuality, perception and definition of identity, and consent. The readings will include pieces from various authors such as John Champagne and Sinclair Sexsmith. Due to the nature of this event, attendees should be prepared for potentially triggering material or discussion. Every effort will be taken to ensure that the night will be a safe space for everyone, but discretion is advised. Registration is required.

Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. (Zoom) — Behrend's Gender and Sexuality Equality club presents a virtual evening of spoken-word poetry with Kevin Kantor, showcasing Kantor's work. Kantor will also provide deeper insights to the themes explored in their work, which range from sexuality and gender identity to sexual violence and healing as a survivor. Registration is required.


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 Cullings 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,

Oct. 26, at 5 p.m. (Swimmer Hall, Williams Building) — 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 11:30–1:30 (courtyard) — National Coming Out day tabling event — Learn about LGBTQ resources at Penn State, learn how to be an ally, and talk to a PRIDE club adviser. Free giveaways included.

Oct. 22, at 12:15 p.m. (Zoom) The campus community is invited for a discussion with PRIDE Club Adviser Anna Eichner on coming out. A brief video will be shown with discussion and Q&A to follow. For the link or more information, email Pam Fleck at


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


Oct. 12, at 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; lobby, Hager Lifelong Education CenterNational Coming Out Day Pride Table — Stop by the pride table in the LEC lobby to get information on the coming-out process, how to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, and other great giveaways.

Oct. 20, at 7 p.m. — It's like bingo, but not, with all the great elements of Playlist Bingo themed to the LGBTQ+ community. This event for Penn College students offers a chance to correctly guess songs to fill up bingo cards and win cash prizes. Details will be provided to students on how to join.

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.


Last Updated April 15, 2021