A gay roommate opens minds

Kelly Petryszyn

READ a related article about the positive effects of interracial roommates.

Upon getting his room assignment, Aaron Webster was nervous that his roommate would hate him. He thought he may have a homophobic roommate or that it would be awkward to live together.

The sophomore human development and family studies major breathed a sigh of relief when both his roommates freshman year were OK with his sexuality. They didn’t mind that Webster is gay.

Then there was the rest of his floor in Manchester Hall. He thought some of the people who lived on his floor were unsure at first.

Sophomore exercise science major Drew Ebersole said he was very closed minded when he arrived at college. He grew up in Grafton, a small town with little or no diversity where gay people were viewed as different.

“My perception of gay people was don’t talk to them, or they will hit on you,” Ebersole said.

So when he came to Kent State and met Webster, Ebersole’s first reaction was “Whoa!” He was not used to that kind of openness with one’s sexuality.

The floor started to go to parties together and become really close. Over a few months, Ebersole began to relax. He realized Webster isn’t so different.

Webster enjoyed educating Ebersole and his other floormates.

“I opened up their eyes,” he said. “They hadn’t met someone who was gay. I let them know we aren’t different – we just like the same sex.”

Contact diversity reporter Kelly Petryszyn at [email protected].