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Coming Out Day comes to campus

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012

Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 15:10

coming out day preparations

Alex Hernandez, Staff Photographer

Members of the Gay Straight Alliance decorate the Student Union Wednesday night in preparation of National Coming Out Week.

The cafeteria will be rainbow themed this Thursday for Coming Out Day, organized by the Gay Straight Alliance in honor of LGBT History Month.

Robert Woods, president of the Gay Straight Alliance and a junior nursing major of Marion, said that several things were being planned for this month.

“Next week we are going to be having guest speakers. We are going to have Taylor Halliburton and she’ll be speaking about how to be a good ally,” Woods said.

“Then the week after we are going to have Katrina Crisp who is from the Center for Artistic Revolution and she’s going to be speaking about spirituality and sexuality.”

Other guest speakers at this event will be speaking at noon at the Multicultural Center.

This will be the second year that the cafeteria will be rainbow themed for LGBT History Month, with last year being the first time it was done.

Tuesday in the Carl R. Reng Student Union GSA had a closet that people could walk into and read stories about kids that were mistreated for being gay and different statistics about the gay community along with common misconceptions.

Some of those statistics said that 42 percent of homeless youth identified themselves as gay or lesbian and that 19 percent of gay men and 25 percent of lesbian women have reported suffering physical violence at the hands of a family member as a result of sexual orientation.

At 6 p.m. Oct. 17 the group will host a panel called “If You Really Knew Me” in the auditorium. The panel will include stories from gays and lesbian about what coming out was like and the different challenges they faced. Allies will also speak at the panel about what it is like being a supporter of the community and what they face as well.

Woods also discussed the importance of celebrating LGBT history month.

“When we think about it, you have a lot of minority celebrations but you don’t have LGBT people being celebrated, and society treats LGBT people as second class citizens,” Woods said.

“I think it’s important not only for LGBT people to know our history but the entire world as well, because there has been a lot of people who identify themselves as LGBT who have made an impact in the world so it’s important for people to know these facts.”

Woods discussed the importance of ASU being an LGBT-friendly community as well.

“It’s important because it’s a good image for the school. Diversity always makes college campuses better,” Woods said.

Woods said if someone is a prospective student who is thinking about going to ASU and they see ASU is an LGBT-friendly campus they will be more inclined to come, and the most important thing is that everyone should feel safe on campus regardless of their sexual orientation.

    Kat Carrick, the faculty adviser for the Gay Straight Alliance, explained why it was important that the group is active this month.

    “I think it’s important that every generation learn about their previous history and especially when you’re talking about sexual minorities and that they don’t have a lot of understanding of who has come before them” Carrick said.

    Carrick also spoke about the importance of the Gay Straight Alliance and ASU. “I think Arkansas State University is trying to attract and retain a diverse population and be competitive on a global market” she said.

Having an awareness of gay or straight couples is important and the Gay Straight Alliance is an opportunity to get to know about the community and talk about different issues, Carrick said.    
Carrick said that the Gay Straight Alliance’s purpose on campus was to provide a sense of community and support for gay and lesbian students, questioning and transgender students. To gather in fellowship and community, to provide a place for straight allies to come and learn about issues their friends are facing and to educate a larger campus community about issues that are affecting the sexual minority community in an oppressive or discriminative way.


 

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