Flashes of Pride supports LGBTQ students coming out

Daria Gaither

Kent State’s LGBTQ Center released its first edition of “Flashes of Pride,” and one Kent State student is using the poster to showcase her voice  in the LGBTQ community.


Yubi Orengo, senior fashion merchandising student, identifies as “polysexual” and said she wants everybody to know that she is not only a member of the LGBTQ community, but also a proud member.


“A lot of students have been about hiding their identity, but its been about me showing mine,” Orengo said.


Orengo is one of 42 people featured in Kent State’s first annual “Flashes of Pride” poster. The poster allows students, faculty and staff a chance to “BE BOLD” and to stand in unity to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion. The poster features allies to the LGBTQ community and members of the LGBTQ community whose sexual preferences range from gay to pansexual, and everything between.


Members of the LGBTQ community and allies of the community gathered outside the Kent State LGBTQ Student Center to celebrate the poster and National Coming Out Day.


The release party was put in place for Kent State students, faculty and staff to meet those featured on the poster, have refreshments, listen to a live disk jockeys and fellowship with each other.


“I want to thank everybody for ‘coming out’ as we celebrate National Coming Out Day,” Ken Ditlevson, director of the LGBTQ Student Center said as he welcomed the crowd.


National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11, but since it landed on a Sunday, the LGBTQ Student Center held off the celebration for Monday, so that everyone could celebrate together.


“We operate off ‘gay standard time’,” Ditlevson said jokingly.


Multiple people jumped up to the podium to share their excitement for the National Coming Out campaign and their love for the LGBTQ community at Kent State.


The formal introduction ended with the DJ playing, Diana Ross’, “I’m Coming Out.”


The party represented something positive for Orengo, who since coming to Kent State in fall 2012, feels she has had to go above and beyond to show others who she really is: a lesbian.


“People think because I am very feminine and not the stereotypical ‘butch’ lesbian that I am not a lesbian.”


Orengo describes her coming out experience as “so-so.”


“I came out to my mother over the phone on Christmas Eve one year,” Orengo said. Orengo says her mother cried, and even questioned if college is what was made her gay. Orengo says her experience of coming out was not bad, it’s getting people to realize she’s gay is the problem.


“I didn’t feel accepted by the LGBT community,” Orengo said. “I feel people may not have accepted my identity because I had a boyfriend.”


Orengo wants others who feel like she does, to feel comfortable coming out to the world.


“I am a woman, I am queer and I am Afro-Latino, I do not want to only choose pieces of myself to identify with,” Orengo said.


Orengo prides herself in her sexual preference, celebrating the fact that she is a lesbian and is ecstatic to be featured in “Flashes of Pride.”


“The poster is a way to leave my name on Kent State’s campus,” Orengo said. This poster means a great deal to Orengo, and not only for her.


“It is another way of Kent State showing diversity and showing that no matter who you are, we are here to support you,” Orengo said.


She wants students, faculty and staff at Kent State to know that they are not alone in their journey.


“If you aren’t out yet, come to Transfusion, PrideKent! or the LGBTQ student center, we are here for you,” she said.


Daria Gaither is the diversity reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]