Opening Proclamation Ceremony Recognizes LGBTQIA+

Photo by Pauline Park

In October, Ramapo celebrates Queer and Trans History Month, as well as Disability Awareness Month. The college kicked off both with an opening proclamation ceremony under the arch on Wednesday afternoon.

“Ramapo College of New Jersey is proud to recognize National Disability Awareness Month and Queer and Trans History Month,” said President Peter Mercer. “This month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the many contributions and accomplishments that the LGBTQIA+ community and those with disabilities make in our society and have made throughout history.”

Ebony Jackson, the Women’s Center Coordinator, provided a brief historical background for both months as well. Jackson explained that Queer and Trans History Month originated in 1994 as LGBT History Month.

“It was founded by Missouri high school history teacher, Rodney Wilson. He chose the month of October because Coming Out Day, which is October 11,” said Jackson.

The month has additional significance for the LGBT community.

“October also commemorates the first march on Washington for lesbian, gay and bi equal rights and liberation by LGBT people in 1979,” explained Jackson.

Disability Awareness Month dates back to 1945 when it was originally National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. It was renamed and extended in 1988 to create what we now know as Disability Awareness Month.

“Both month-long observances serve to acknowledge the efforts LGBTQIA+ people and people with disabilities have made contributions throughout history as well as today,” said Jackson. “Both month-long observances also serve to educate others about the contributions and issues facing both of these communities.”

Mercer emphasized the importance of raising awareness and celebrating diversity of these groups throughout Ramapo College campus.

“Our recognition of National Disability Awareness Month is a symbol of our commitment to provide opportunity, growth and visibility for people with disabilities as well as fostering education about disability issues in our college and in our community,” said Mercer. “In recognizing Queer and Trans History Month, Ramapo College supports and recognizes the importance of increasing awareness, education and visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer or questioning, intersex and asexual people among other sexual and gender identities.”

The president also mentioned that this year’s theme for the Queer and Trans History Month is Celebrate You.

“Here at Ramapo College, we recognize and celebrate diversity,” said Mercer.

Events for both Disability Awareness and Queer and Trans History have already started and will continue throughout the month of October.

“Because respect for differences is a defining characteristic of a college campus, we work toward erasing misconception, bigotry and intolerance by heightening the awareness and understanding of these communities’ lives and experiences,” said the president.