A round of applause for those coming out

What’s your coming out story?

This week, PRIDE!Kent hosted its annual “Coming Out Week,” which is a time to encourage people in the LGBT community to share their sexuality with others and be comfortable with who they are.

Events for the celebration included messages of religious acceptance from the Unitarian Universalist Church and an evening of fun at “Queers on Ice” at the Kent State Ice Arena.

Coming Out Week will conclude this evening with a special PRIDE!Kent meeting in which executive board members will share their stories about coming out to their families and friends.

PRIDE!Kent’s events for the week coincide with National Coming Out Day, which is Oct. 11. The national celebration takes place on Oct. 11 because of a march on Washington, D.C. that took place on that day exactly 20 year ago. Activists marched for the rights that LGBT individuals are still fighting for today.

For those who chose to come out this week as a member or supporter of the LGBT community, we commend you.

Coming out as LGBT or even as a LGBT ally takes extreme courage. Although the tolerance of the gay community is getting better day by day, many prejudices and injustices still accompany coming out.

It is hard for those who are straight to comprehend the possibility of being disowned, scorned or even unloved for one’s sexuality.

Many injustices are experienced at the hands of characteristics visibly seen, such as race or gender, but experiencing prejudice because of an identity one could keep secret takes a different kind of courage.

In other social movements, those who fight prejudice usually have the support of their loved ones. But this isn’t always so for the gay community. Acceptance is something many take for granted, and Coming Out Week is an excellent way to encourage the community to love its LGBT brothers and sisters.

PRIDE!Kent’s commitment to hosting Coming Out Week is very important to Kent State’s diversity efforts. It is a great contribution to diversity to promote acceptance and inclusion.

We’re glad Coming Out Week is an outlet for those who would otherwise keep mum about their sexuality, but we can’t wait for the moment when Coming Out Day won’t be necessary. We hope there will be a day when associating with the LGBT community isn’t taboo.

Events such as Coming Out Week are a harsh reminder that this nation isn’t always an easy place in which to live. When people live in fear of being themselves, our priorities and values have to be questioned.

For the end of Coming Out Week, we hope everyone comes out as a LGBT ally. It is of no consequence whether you know a LGBT person; you should support the right to equality.

In that sense, everyone should have a coming out story.

Come out as a friend to all. Come out as a person who is willing to accept a person of any ethnicity, religion, gender or sexuality. Come out against hatred and bigotry.

Come out against racism, sexism and ethnocentrism.

Come out against hate crimes.

Come out as yourself. Do what you’ve never dared to do, and say what you’ve never dared to say.

Support those who know who they are and are brave enough to share that with the world.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.