The Daily Gamecock

OMSA kicks off LGBT History Month with walk-through showcase at Davis Field

Students receive information about the LGBTQ+ History Month Kick-Off. The kickoff happened on Davis Field Thursday.
Students receive information about the LGBTQ+ History Month Kick-Off. The kickoff happened on Davis Field Thursday.

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) hosted a walk-through showcase of LGBTQIA+ history and culture at Davis Field on Thursday to kick off LGBT History Month.

The meanings of pride flags and icons, on-campus resources for LGBTQIA+ students, notable people and events in LGBTQIA+ history and a gallery of LGBTQIA+ parades and celebrations were all displayed at the event. 

"People can come and just read some little blurbs about the history of pride, about LGBT folks, about symbology to do with the LGBTQ+ community and also kind of see what's going on in our office, and around campus, with regard to policies and practices and programming for LGBTQ+ students," Caroline Wallace, the assistant director for LGBT Education at OMSA, said.

One of OMSA's goals in promoting LGBT History Month is to celebrate the contributions of LGBTQIA+ activists in the past.

The history exhibit included gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, transgender activist and entertainer Christine Jorgensen and the first openly gay San Francisco city official Harvey Milk.

"I definitely think that Harvey Milk represented, just, a new era of — he was sort of a trailblazer, in his respect," a first-year economics student who wished to remain anonymous said. "I think he formed what we know today as San Francisco politics: a very open, very forward-thinking culture. He was part of the new guard."

According to Wallace, the history fair structure was a compromise that allowed for LGBTQIA+ visibility but also complied with social distancing and the university's COVID-19 policy. 

"With the COVID-19 regulations, we weren't able to have food; a lot of the 'sit together and do craft projects' that we've done in the past, we're not going to be able to do," Wallace said. "So instead, we've structured it as a history fair walk-through."

Although food and group projects could not be arranged safely, the OMSA offered complementary pronoun buttons, pride-themed embroidery kits and information packets.

Ensuring the showcase was inclusive, visible and open to everyone was a priority for OMSA.

"I really like these events because they're highly visible," Wallace said. "They're on campus, and they're just an opportunity to show our LGBTQ+ students, our non-LGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty, etc., all of our campus and community members, that there is an LGBT office; there is a community on our campus; that we in OMSA see you ... that we celebrate who you are."