Students show support for GLBTSA event

Students+show+support+for+GLBTSA+event

Photo by: Ashley Burton

Tejal Smith, a member of GLBTSA, stirs the chili for the free hot dogs that were offered at this event.

Rachel Baggett, Staff Writer

Gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight students at Francis Marion University all came out Thursday, Oct. 18 to show support for National Coming Out Day (NCOD).

To celebrate NCOD at FMU, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight Alliance (GLBTSA) provided students with sheets of colored paper and markers so they could anonymously write what they were coming out as. Once the students were done writing, they could then post their coming out message on one of the three large boards the GLBTSA had placed on the Founders Hall lawn. The event was scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. and by the time the event ended at 3 p.m., both sides of the three boards were covered in students’ coming out messages.

Lindsay Jackson, a theatre design major and the President of GLBTSA, helped run the event and said she was excited about how well the event was going and how many students had put up messages.

“There are a lot of people coming out, and everybody is being really open and supportive,” Jackson said.

The idea for a NCOD was started after a gay and lesbian peace march was held in Washington, D.C. that led to the formation of many organizations and alliances for gay and lesbian rights. After these groups had been created, they wanted a way to continue to celebrate the gay and lesbian community while bringing awareness. NCOD was then created as a way to remember the half million people at that march and support the LGBT alliances.

Re’vyn Kelly, an international studies major, said that for her, NCOD is a day for people to express themselves and to realize who they are.

“It’s important for people to find their self-confidence and be able to come out and admit who they are,” Kelly said. “Regardless of what they want to be.”

While NCOD was started as a day for the LGBT community, the GLBTSA did not limit the coming out messages to just about coming out as a LGBT individual. Students were welcome to come out as whatever they wanted or needed to come out as. Many of the coming out messages were related to NCOD, such as “I’m coming out as a future gay doctor” and “I’m coming out as an ally and a friend,” but there were also many messages about a wide range of subjects. Some of the messages were funny, such as “I’m coming out as a wizard,” and some of the messages were about school, such as “I’m coming out as a graduate in May 2013.” Other messages students posted were about achievements; “I’m coming out as a true war combat solider and leader;” relationships, “I’m coming out as a fool in love;” and personalities, “I’m coming out as a unique individual.”

David Robinson, a psychology major and member of the GLBTSA, came out as a witch at the event and said he felt like events such as NCOD were important because people could express themselves.

“I think it’s important for people to just be accepting of who they are and to not be ashamed of who they truly are,” Robinson said. “It’s important that everybody gets their voice out there.”

GLBTSA also had a table set up where they were playing music and providing free hot dogs and rainbow kool-aid for students to enjoy while they looked at other messages and browsed through binders that held messages from previous coming out days. GLBTSA were also giving out GLBTS support wristbands and posters along with pamphlets about different sexual identities from the HRC.