Lewisburg recognized October as LGBTQ+ History Month during Tuesday’s borough council meeting.
Mayor Judy Wagner invited Councilman Luis Medina to read a mayoral proclamation recognizing the role members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning play in the Lewisburg community.
The proclamation was read on a night when the council voted to allow its outside attorney to review a proposed Human Relations Ordinance that seeks to protect gender identity and sexual orientation among other protected classes against discrimination. The ordinance remains a proposal and hasn’t yet been formally brought forward for a vote of the full borough council.
Medina and council members Jordi Comas and Sue Mahon worked on the latest revised draft of the ordinance.
“Our vibrant LGBTQ+ community members provide valuable contributions to our economy, academics, arts and social influence,” the proclamation states. “The Borough of Lewisburg is committed to protecting the civil rights of our LGBTQ+ residents and visitors and remains dedicated to the pursuit of creating an increasingly equitable and safe community.”
The proclamation states that celebrating such diversity and history can build understanding and empathy, and that recognizing LGBTQ+ history “makes a civil rights statement about our extraordinary local, national, and international contributions.”
Specific dates were recognized as follows: Oct. 8, International Lesbian Day; Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day; Oct. 16, International Pronouns Day; Oct. 17, Spirit Day; Oct. 19, LGBTQ+ Center Awareness Day; Oct. 20-26, Asexual Awareness Week; Oct. 26, Intersex Day of Awareness.
The proclamation coincides with the national LGBT History Month, rooted in a 1994 call to action by a Missouri high school teacher who sought support for the teaching and celebration of LGBT history, according to a website devoted to the month, lgbthistorymonth.com. The civil rights organization Equality Forum coordinates activities and education around the celebration.
“It’s a step forward to acknowledge and recognize the contributions LGBTQ people have had,” Medina said. “Lewisburg, it is a welcoming place for us and everyone.”
Wagner said council members with personal connections to specific issues, such as Medina, who is openly gay, are encouraged to read such proclamations. She said Comas presented a proclamation concerning climate change.
“If it’s something meaningful, I will ask them to present it,” Wagner said. “I was proud of (Medina). He got to do something that was meaningful to him and to our community.”