In the 1960s America’s sexual revolution marked the shift in public awareness and acceptance for sexual and romantic relationships outside of the then traditional, heterosexual relationships. Each year during Pride Month — which was initially inspired by the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and works to achieve equal justice and opportunity for LGBTQ+ Americans — we reflect on and celebrate the spectrum of sexuality.

“Sexuality has evolved in recent American history as a thirst to understand and be represented correctly,” says Associate Professor Maria Santana, former director of UCF’s women’s and gender studies program. “The definition is really ours; we define who we are. We need to learn [LGBTQ] history so we can know where we are heading. It’s important to understand, not just tolerate, and understand to the humanity of all of us.”

In this first video of UCF’s three-part series in celebration of Pride Month, Santana guides us through what sexuality is, its significance and the importance of recognizing LGBT history as American history.

“Language doesn’t move as fast as culture so we’re still struggling with some terms. We’re still defining some of the issues [and identities related to] sexuality,” she says. “But I encourage you to love yourself, to love exactly who you are.”

Since coming to UCF in 2009 the associate professor has taught for the Women’s and Gender Studies program, CREATE, Burnett Honors College, Nicholson School of Communication and Media, and the School of Visual Arts and Design. She earned her bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Puerto Rico. She also earned a master’s in radio and television/mass Communication and doctorate in mass/international communication from Temple University.

Santana is an interdisciplinary scholar that examines media, gender studies, and leadership in her teaching and research. She is also an activist with the Farmworker Association of Florida, Planned Parenthood, Equality Florida, Girl Scouts of Citrus Council and Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College.

Interested in learning more? Below are resources available to students on campus and beyond.


Human Rights Campaign is one of the most effective mainstream advocacy organizations in the country whose goal is to ensure that all LGBTQ people — particularly those who are trans, people of color and HIV+ — are treated as full and equal citizens.

Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Central Florida

LGBTQ History Museum of Central Florida is an organization that digitally collects, preservers and exhibits history of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community in the region.

OneOrlando Alliance, which formed as a result of the Pulse nightclub tragedy in 2016, is now a coalition of over 40 service-based organizations that provide LGBTQ+ specific programs to the Orlando community.

The Center promotes and empowers the LGBT community and its allies through information, education, advocacy and support.

Zebra Coalition is a network of organizations which provide services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all youth (LGBTQ+) ages 13 – 24.


Alliance Mentoring Program connects UCF students who identify within the LGBTQ+ community with an LGBTQ+ faculty or staff mentor.

Career Services counselors have gone through training and programs to best work with and address the concerns LGBTQ+ students have related to future employment.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers free mental health counseling to all students and is available for consultation to the university community. CAPS is dedicated to providing these services in an atmosphere that is welcoming and comfortable for all, regardless of race, gender, ethnic background, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or physical ability.

Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity provides brotherhood and growth opportunities for gay, bisexual, transgender, and progressive men.

Lavender Council is a student advisory board that serves as a liaison between students, faculty, and staff and LGBTQ+ Services that works to make UCF a more accepting, welcoming and equitable campus.

LGBTQI+ Medical Students and Allies Group is a College of Medicine organization that raises awareness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning patients, individuals and healthcare providers.

LGBTQ+ Services connects our diverse student population to opportunities, resources and each other to achieve the vision of a stronger, healthier and more equitable world for LGBTQ+ people and its allies.

Multicultural Student Center aims to create a more inclusive and equitable campus environment that enriches the university experience through actively supporting diverse and intentional programming.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion offers training for students, faculty and staff in a variety of topics, with workshops including Safe Zone LGBTQ+ 101, Gender Difference in Communication, and Inclusive Communication. All workshops are free unless otherwise noted.

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at the University of Central Florida (O-STEM at UCF)promotes professional development while uniting students of STEM majors and LGBTQ+ identities.

Pride Faculty and Staff Association provides quality programming, networking opportunities, and guidance to UCF’s LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff on all UCF campuses. Membership is open to all current and retired UCF faculty and staff regardless of age, race, gender, gender expression, creed, nationality, faith/non-faith system, or sexual orientation, who support the mission and goals of PFSA as outlined in the bylaws.

Pride Student Association is committed to celebrating and unifying the LGBTQ+ community on the UCF campus.

Social Justice and Advocacy supports efforts to increase equal access to campus resources and opportunities, while cultivating inclusiveness to the least advantaged members of the campus community.

Student Legal Services is available for consultation if you think you have been discriminated against due to being LGBTQ+.

UCF Libraries Diversity and Education: LGBTQ Resources is a list of online books, encyclopedias, and handbooks.

UCF Libraries GLBTQ Resources is a collection of historical resources related to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer history.

Wellness and Health Promotion Services provides free sexual health resources and HIV testing and counseling for students.