Campus Comes Together for National Coming Out Day
The rainbow flag flew alongside the American and Penn State flags on the Brandywine campus the week of October 10, and supporters donned purple clothing and rainbow ribbons as a sign of solidarity for National Coming Out Day, Tuesday, Oct. 11. The Office of Student Affairs collaborated with students, staff and faculty to provide a week of events to support members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) community.
Volunteers passed out information for those in need of guidance or who are struggling with their sexual identity, and members of the campus participated in activities, such as writing messages of hope on their handprints. Many faculty, staff and students were more than happy to share their thoughts on the importance of a safe, welcoming campus for those who identify as LGBTQ.
Assistant Professor of History Julie Gallagher, a member of the LGBTQ community, said, “I feel it’s particularly important for institutions that serve young people, like high schools, colleges or universities, to create an atmosphere of safety for not only intellectual exploration, but for the exploration of self in all of its manifestations, including sexuality. In our society at large, we have seen significant progress, particularly with the U.S. military’s recent elimination of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. People’s right to be open about their sexuality and serve the nation with honor are no longer competing ideals, and that’s great. But we have further to go. We need all spaces where people spend time to be free of intimidation, discrimination and violence because of their sexual identity. It is great that Penn State Brandywine is sending such a clear message that our campus is such a place.”
Freshman Ebony Ford said, “National Coming Out Day is important to the LGBTQ community and society as a whole. Too many people feel that if they support the LGBTQ community they will be accused of being homosexual. This is untrue and allies can play a big part in making members of the LGBTQ community feel accepted. National Coming Out Day is important to me because it gives me hope that everyone isn’t as hateful or intolerant as the people I’ve come into contact with as a lesbian member of the LGBTQ community.”
Junior Bobbi Caprice said, “I am not LGBTQ, nor do I really have a personal connection with anyone who is. However, I am a believer that everyone should have the right to be themselves. I can't imagine someone telling me that I shouldn't or can't love [my boyfriend], Vinny. I personally live by the quote ‘treat people how you would want to be treated.’ I support anyone who is being themselves.”
Visit http://bit.ly/oEWInj to watch as members of the campus community talk about why National Coming Out Day and Brandywine’s support for those with diverse sexual identities is important.