Joshua Phelps, Features Editor
University of Missouri–St. Louis – The Office of Student Involvement and PRIZM kicked off LGBTQ+ history month with their third annual Outburst event on Oct. 1. The event, which was hosted on the first floor of the Millennium Student Center, featured a performance from St. Louis-based Gateway Men’s Chorus and offered food such as cupcakes and quesadillas.
“This was a casual, informal get-together,” said Jessie Eikmann, president of PRIZM and fine arts graduate student.
Eikmann said Outburst is one of the first events to kick off subsequent events that talk about LGBTQ+ History such as the LGBTQ + People of Color Meetup that took place Oct. 3.
On Oct. 5, PRIZM hosted the discussion and LGBTQ+ education forum Queer City Wide. The group talked about local topics such as nonprofit Pride St. Louis’ polarizing decision to allow uniformed police officers to march in the Pride parade held in late June. “It was pretty weird,” Eikmann reflected.
In addition to the events scheduled this month at UMSL, this year’s LGBTQ+ History month coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a protest for LGBTQ+ rights sparked by transgender activist Marsha P. Johnson.
Clare Reel, a sociology major, senior and volunteer for PRIZM said LGBTQ+ history is important for students because it gives them the chance to see the progress made for queer and trans rights. “This is stuff I’ve never learned in my life,” Reel said. “If we have more of our history out there, it can save a lot of lives.”
“It’s a great chance to reflect on our history as a community and come together,” added Kevin Knarr. Knarr works for the counseling department for the gender studies department.
On top of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, PRIZM will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a drag show at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on Oct. 24 from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $5 for UMSL students and $10 for the public.
For more information about the annual drag show and other events, readers can visit UMSL’s LGBTQ+ event page at www.umsl.edu/lgbtq/.