Gender/Sexuality Studies Student Association to co-host LGBTQ+ history public training

Workshop provides historical context of LGBTQ+ social movements

Jackie Phillips

The NMU Gender/Sexuality Studies Student Association (GSSSA) is hosting a History of LGBTQ+ Social Movements presentation, public training and workshop session on Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Harden Hall. 

The interactive presentation and community workshop, or public training, will feature a presentation given by facilitator, Emily Jones, from the Michigan Student Power Alliance (MSPA). There will also be various activities such as attendees creating a timeline of events they find important for the history of the LGBTQ+ community.

The MSPA is a non-profit group that works with and supports various student activist groups across Michigan. This public training will give attendants an opportunity to learn about the social movements throughout history of the LGBTQ+ community. 

The presentation being given is intended to be interactive, rather than a lecture style presentation. The interactive presentation is meant to get the participants involved rather than simply listen to a lecture for the period the training will be held for. At the end of the public training, a guided meditation is planned in order to apply a self care oriented activity into the event. 

Many people on campus are interested in activism work, but may not know where or how to get started, GSSSA Co-President Sarah Huiber said. 

“It’s important to know the historical context of your cause and the roots of the people before you who got us where we are now,” Huiber said. 

To organize the event, Huiber and the GSSSA had been in contact with the MSPA about doing a public training. After a period of talking about the public training, the MSPA asked the GSSSA if they would be interested in giving a presentation and workshop on movement history. They then met over Zoom to discuss a topic. 

From there, the GSSSA worked with the facilitator and the digital marketing member of the MSPA who made the graphics for the presentation, then emails were sent to NMU professors to help spread the word at the request of the GSSSA. 

The public training session helps to build awareness and allows people to participate in conversations that they may not have the opportunity to otherwise be involved in, GSSSA Co-President Moony Van Orsdel said. 

“Keeping our perspectives open and continuing to learn about different communities and experiences helps us all to be more empathetic and more involved in social justice spaces,” Van Orsdel said. 

Students and community members who attend the event are presented with the opportunity to learn LGBTQ+ social movements and how those movements fit into history. The MSPA and GSSSA will be working to train participants in how to organize, archive and map LGBTQ+ movements, as well as the historical contexts. The training will also serve as an opportunity for participants to develop leadership skills. 

The GSSSA and its members hope that collaborations like this will lead to more connections and conversations surrounding these important topics. 

“[These conversations] allow us to build spaces where people can share their voices and their stories,” Van Orsdel said.