Around Winchester

Shenandoah Co-Hosts Big Queer Story Night with Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

By Andy Espinoza

On Oct. 5, the Mosaic Center held Big Queer Story Night, an annual event where students, faculty, and alumni gather together to share their experiences as members of the LGBTQ+ community. This year’s event was special, since it was held at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, as an attempt to collaborate more with the city of Winchester. 

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley first attempted to collaborate with the Mosaic Center for an event like this back in 2019. However, plans fell through because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It was difficult to hold an event this big off campus since we were like ‘woah we got a lot of power,’” said Frank Desrosiers, a work study at the Mosaic Center. “Fortunately, the museum was a welcoming space for both students and guests outside of Shenandoah.”

Among the several speakers of the night was Mannie Brown (they/she/he), the university’s Area Coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion. As a gender-queer individual, Brown took over the stage to recall their experiences in college. “Events like this mean a lot to me,” said Brown. 

Brown also talked about how sharing their experience provided an opportunity to reflect and hear from others. 

“It’s important to have spaces like this,” said Brown. “It allows people to celebrate and entertain their queerness in a very affirming way.”

Mary Bruce Glaize, an SU alumni and member of the Board of Trustees, was also present at the event. She shared a letter to her grandmother about being an ally and supporter to the trans and LGBTQ+ community. 

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley hopes to continue holding events like this with the university. They hope to attract interest in Winchester’s historical past and provide a safe space for anyone to tell their story. 

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