PRIDE! Kent discusses influential LGBTQ women in history

Nicholas Garisto

PRIDE! Kent discussed influential women of LGBTQ history during their meeting on March 10. 

Textbooks often overlook women in history, especially LGBTQ women. PRIDE executives shared the lives of some impactful women that have made a mark somewhere in the world.

Vice president Drew Canfield chose to share the life of the ancient Greek lyric poet Sappho, who is famously known as the “first” lesbian of recorded history. The term lesbian originally came from the name of the island she lived on called Lesbos.

“Only fragments of her writing survive, so imagine the even larger impact if those fragments were fully intact,” said Canfield, “Plato also called her the tenth muse.”

Sappho’s poetry that has survived details the intense feelings she had for the women she fell in love with, which often times were with women who had other feelings for men. Ancient Greek culture had a very different view on sexuality than what is seen today.

PRIDE! Director of marketing, Casey Willener said sexuality to the ancient Greeks was not based on what group you should love, but whom you love.

Willener then shared his pick, Jane Adams, the first woman from the U.S. to win a Nobel Peace prize.

Adams was a very charitable woman who is credited with initiating the philosophy of modern social work. She advocated tirelessly for women’s rights, public health care and world peace and sought to inspire women to volunteer in their communities.

Adams also was with a woman for 33 years, but never outright said she was a lesbian.

Her background was very religious and a PRIDE! member argued that could have influenced her charitable work. Adams lived during a time where immigrants were pouring from Europe to the U.S. which inspired her social work.

PRIDE! hosted this meeting as a part of Women’s History month. Their weekly meetings are at the Governance Chambers in the Student Center at 8 p.m. 

Nicholas Garisto is the Women and Gender Issues Reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]