50 Years Stronger at MSU

This year the LBGT Resource Center is the recipient of the “Creating Inclusive Environments” grants awarded through the Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. The grant will allow us to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which was celebrated June 2019 at World Pride in New York City. Our grant, titled “50 Years Stronger”, will feature speakers, a leadership summit, and so many more opportunities to celebrate the Stonewall Riots. Please read our newsletter or follow us on social media for all event details. Read about our featured speakers and some history of Stonewall below.

History of Stonewall

In the late hours of Saturday, June 28th 1969, New York City’s Christopher Street erupted as members of the LGBTQA+ community took to the streets in rebellion against ongoing police raids and police brutality. The Stonewall Inn was raided by police and the patrons inside were subject to arrest and violence. The Stonewall Inn was raided regularly, but this night, the patrons fought back. Specifically, Black and brown transgender women began by defying the orders given by the police and the Stonewall Riots began! This evening would mark one of the biggest catalysts for the LGBTQA+ liberation movement. The Stonewall Riots is commemorated each year during LGBTQA+ Pride Month in the month of June.

50 Years Stronger: The Stonewall Riots  

The year 2019 commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the MSU LBGT Resource Center is dedicated to celebrating the entire 2019-2020 academic year. We are planning events that highlight the voices of Black and brown queer and transgender activists and artists, educate the MSU community, and engage in thoughtful dialogue around activism and the LGBTQA+ Rights movement. This is important given the devastating statistics surrounding transgender women of color. Black transgender women have a life expectancy of 35 years-old and 2019 has seen eighteen transgender women of color murdered as of September 2019. The nation needs to start loving transgender people. It matters to promote their voices and have real conversations at higher education institutions about how we can better serve them and educate cisgender community members about their role in fighting transphobia.

Laila Ireland

Laila Ireland served 12 years in the United Stated military and courageously came out as transgender by sharing her story in the Emmy nominated New York Times short film “Transgender, at War and in Love.” Today, Laila advocates for transgender equality by speaking in schools and businesses across our nation. She serves as the Membership Director to SPART*A Trans; an organization of over 600+ members established and operated for and by transgender military individuals. Laila will be on campus October 28th.

Cameron Awkward-Rich

Cameron Awkward-Rich is the author of Sympathetic Little Monster which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. His research and teaching interests include trans/feminist/queer theory and methods; disability studies; contemporary American literature; and creative writing. This poet/speaker engagement will be at our Lavender Reception.

A Time to Read: Drag Story Telling Hour 

This event will bring two local Michigan drag performers to read for youth in our community. In collaboration with the MSU Student Parent Resource Center and the local Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) chapter we will enjoy stories read by local performers and engage in education about their experiences in drag.

Stonewall Riots Teach-in Series

This series of four (4) teach-ins will be led in collaboration with various campus partners and the LBGT Resource Center staff. These teach-ins will bring faculty, staff, and students together to explore the LGBTQA evolution of activism using the framework of the Stonewall Riots. The topics will explore LGBTQA activism before the Stonewall Riots, The Stonewall Riots, activism through the last fifty (50) years, and finally issues of today and that are coming up for the LGBTQA community that activists are coming to the forefront.

LGBTQA Leadership Summit

The LGBTQA Leadership Summit will be an opportunity for LGBTQA Student leaders and their allies to gather. During the summit, they will have the opportunity to resource share, build coalitions, and make connections that will uplift grow their leadership competencies. In the spirit of the stonewall Riots, the LGBTQA Leadership Summit will focus on ways these leaders can dismantle systems of oppression and work together to create change.

Racial Justice Retreat

The Racial Justice Retreat is an opportunity to discuss the deep connections between racial justice and LGBTQA justice. This will be open to all students and offer session rotations with topics discussing racial and LGBTQA justice. Centered at this retreat will be the integral part that transgender women of color played in the Stonewall Riots and the early LGBTQA movement. Faculty, staff, and students will have the opportunity to present and/or run workshops for the attendance. The purpose of this event is to bring dismantle the notion that LGBTQA and Racial justice are separate from each other.