NE Campus event shows LGBTQ history

NE students Maseo Daniels, Melissa Brown and Adam Abdulla watch “The Puppy” episode Ellen show aired in 1997. Joel Solis/The Collegian
NE students Maseo Daniels, Melissa Brown and Adam
Abdulla watch “The Puppy” episode Ellen show aired in 1997.
Joel Solis/The Collegian

campus editor

NE Campus celebrated LGBTQ history by talking about representation in media and school.

NE associate History professor Karen Wisely and her friend IT operative and LGBTQ event Carla Goodrum hosted an LGBTQ history month event on Oct. 5 where they shared experiences as allies and discussed LGBTQ representation.

Wisely said this was the first time she had done something like this in-person on campus and hoped students would be able to walk away from the event interested in LGBTQ history and understand how far the community has come over the years.

“I had them virtually because I started work here in 2019,” Wisely said. “My first year I didn’t do anything. I was just trying to find where everything was. My second year was 2020 – we did it virtually. We’ve been doing virtual events all along and last fall we did a National Coming Out Day. It was an LGBTQ history event that was virtual and this year we wanted to, you know, bring it to campus.”

The discussion began after watching “The Puppy Episode” from the 1994 sitcom “Ellen” starring Ellen DeGeneres. This episode was significant because it was the episode where Ellen came out as a lesbian. The episode served as a catalyst for a much broader examination and discussion of LGBTQ representation as a whole. 

“What I’m tired of seeing in media is that every time there’s an LGBTQ character, it has to be some big coming out moment, or they have to hide who they are,” said Wisely. “If we’re trying to normalize LGBTQ people in society then let it be normal.”

NE student Melissa Brown feels queer representation in media is still not where it could be and that there’s still room for it to grow.

“It’s still so inaccessible within the media to imagine yourself represented like that,” Brown said. “There’s still a lot of work to do regarding it being common enough that people can’t imagine it…not even people who are queer.”

Goodman talked about representation in the media and explained why it’s important to her.

“I really care about this,“ Goodrum said. “I’m not in film or anything but this matters to me. I care about representation on screen and it just doesn’t exist for us.”

Later during the event, Wisely answered a question regarding the state of representation in college and whether or not students should know about the LGBTQ community and its history.

“If you are in college, I think it’s our responsibility to teach you everything that’s out there,” Wisely said. “I think at the college level we should all be aware of it and should teach it. Because in college, this is a decision, it’s a decision everyone makes.”

At the end of the event, the hosts gave some closing thoughts and responded to a question regarding advice for LGBTQ youth.

“Be extra queer,” Goodrum said. “Be even more queer than you were the day before and every single day going forward.”

After Goodrum, Wisely bounced back and shared similar opinions. She gave some words to attendees and LGBTQ youth right as the event wrapped up.

“Find someone who likes you for who you are,” Wisely said. “I mean that goes for whether you’re LGBTQ or straight or anything. Just be who you are and people will either like you or not, and the ones who like you, those are your people.”