The University of Missouri–St. Louis kicked off its LGBTQ+ History Month programming with a celebration of art, literature and culture.
The Outburst talent show, which took place in the Millennium Student Center Century Rooms on Monday, showcased creative and academic works by UMSL LGBTQ+ students and allies. The State Historical Society of Missouri archived all pieces submitted for consumption and research by archivists, researchers and students.
UMSL LGBTQ+ and Diversity Coordinator Ariana Smith served as the event host, introducing each of the 11 pieces presented and explaining the rationale of each event element, from the printouts of the written submissions placed on each table to the display of published LGBTQ+ literature on loan from the St. Louis Public Library and individuals.
“We really want to celebrate what LGBTQ+ folks are doing,” Smith said.
The event served as a way to build community and connections. For media studies student Malik Lendell Taylor-Allen, it also allowed him to get his voice and opinion out there.
“I wanted to really push myself to get a little bit more vulnerable,” Taylor-Allen said. “I feel like this is the space to do that.”
PRIZM Queer Trans Straight Student Alliance President Amanda Marivic López Cachan, who uses the she/they pronouns, shared a painting of a tree dripping with purple and lilac foliage.
A political science student who doesn’t necessarily think of herself as an artist, López Cachan had made the painting for her partner, inspired, in part, by the tree from Disney movie Pocahontas and the many colors that represent the LGBTQ+ community.
“I have struggled a lot with finding myself in the LGBTQ+ community,” López Cachan. “When I heard about a display that will honor our community and that would showcase our beauty as a whole, I wanted to be a part of it. It’s just very important for me to create a community, and we are not very out there. I think it’s just important to show that we’re here, and I want to do my part.”
Getting their perspective and voice out also inspired Ginger Redden to share a poem. Titled “Names,” the poem explored Redden’s process of realizing the confusion and sense of displacement they felt around their birth name and sex and the relief upon learning of gender fluidity and finding a name, Ginger, for themself.
The poem’s final line states, “I will be Ginger and I will be happy.”
Redden, whose chosen name comes from their hair color, is an aspiring writer and is at work on a novel.
“I never participated in an LGBTQ+ event before,” Redden said. “Or even presented a piece of writing publicly. I wanted to take the opportunity to embrace who I was and contribute something to the community that I’m a part of. Having that first experience, this was important to me. I needed to do this.”
The LGBTQ+ History Month events include:
- Pizza and Pronouns – Oct. 7 from 12 to 12:30 p.m. in the Fireside Lounge
- National Coming Out Day tie-dye and talk – Oct. 11 from 2 to 4 p.m. on the Honors Front Lawn
- Inclusive Language, LGBTQ+ terminology – Oct. 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. on Zoom
- QTPOC Meet-Up: Sexuality and gender in Romance languages – Oct. 12 2 to 3:30 on Zoom
- LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Association Interest meet-up – Oct. 14 from 12 to 1:20 p.m. in 494 Lucas Hall
- Out of the Stacks: SHSMO’s LHBTQ+ Collections – Oct. 21 from 12 to 1 p.m. in University Library Room 315
- State Historical Society of Missouri open house – Oct. 22 from 2 to 4 p.m. in University Library Room 221
- Sports are Universal Kickball Classic – Oct. 23 at 11 a.m. in the Recreation and Wellness Center
- Out at Work Series
- Film screening – Oct. 26 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. TBA
- Panel discussion – Oct. 28 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Zoom