Where history, heritage intertwine

Students can view pieces related to LGBTQ history and Hispanic heritage on the fourth floor of the USF library. ORACLE PHOTO/JACKIE BENITEZ

LGBTQ and Hispanic history are prominent at USF, with both communities included in various clubs on campus.

Meetings at a Hispanic club may showcase various foods, dances, apparel and other aspects from the culture while the LGBTQ clubs pride themselves on being safe spaces for students of all sexual identities as well as educating these students on LGBTQ culture.

LGBTQ History Month and Hispanic Heritage Month overlap in October and, to celebrate, an exhibit was curated to display items that show the history behind both of these cultures. The Hispanic & Latinx (pronounced ‘la-teen-ex’) and LGBTQ Community Special Collection Exhibit was first unveiled on Sept. 15 on the fourth floor of the library.

The exhibit features items such as books, LGBTQ buttons, flags, and posters.

The exhibit was organized by Maria Merrill, the coordinator of LGBT Programs & Services, and Justin Monell, the Coordinator, Cultural Initiatives, from the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

“Looking at this piece of intersectionality, you could be a part of the Hispanic or Latinx community but also have another identity LGBTQ that intersects,” Monell said. “We really wanted to showcase both heritage and history months in one particular space so students could get the feel of you could be every identity in one.”

They chose the Special Collections section on the fourth floor of the library because this section already has a vast collection of work on both communities.

“It helps that Hispanic Heritage Month and LGBTQ Month share two weeks so that also kind of made that logical connection piece there,” Merrill said. 

Matt Knight, assistant coordinator of Special Collections at the library, said students can find pieces such as “Patricia Heisman’s first book she wrote as Claire Morgan like lesbian fiction, one of the first pamphlets from what’s now USF P.R.I.D.E. from 1974, and Cuban books about Jose Marti wrapped in cigar paper.” 

Synth Rosario, president of the P.R.I.D.E. Alliance at USF, said there are many other things happening this month for LGBTQ History Month. P.R.I.D.E. Alliance had its annual Coming Out Day on Thursday, where some members of the LGBTQ community told their coming out stories to the public. 

“We’ve even had students come out at these events before,” Rosario said. 

Rosario wants students to try and get educated on the LGBTQ community and suggests the Safe Zone program through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, where students can become allies.

While Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to this Saturday, LGBTQ Month is the entire month of October. Students can find other LGBTQ events to attend on the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ website.