Coming out project shows campus support

PRIDE!Kent’s Coming Out Week ends today, but never fear — if you wanted to come out and haven’t yet, there are 358 other days of the year, all of which are perfectly worthy of revealing your sexuality.

In an Oct. 16 Daily Kent Stater article, PRIDE!Kent President Amanda Boyd called Coming Out Week a “planned way to embrace the (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community,” saying she hoped younger members of the university would not be too intimidated to participate. Through events such as Queers on Ice, celebrity speakers and a Halloween ball, Coming Out Week is designed to encourage closeted member of Kent State’s LGBT community to try something new — be proud of their sexual identities.

This year, the Daily Kent Stater tried something new for Coming Out Week, too. To determine how LGBT-friendly Kent State is, the Stater asked its readers to “come out” in support of the LGBT community by submitting their names to be printed in today’s Forum section.

The Stater made the request for supporters in Monday’s paper, asking readers to submit their names and university affiliations by Thursday. Within three days, we accumulated a list of 134 supporters.

This was the first time the Stater has ever attempted this project, but if we received so many participants’ names in the first year’s experiment, just imagine how many could be on next year’s list. Take a look at the names listed below — they include students, faculty, staff and community members. They’re your classmates, your friends, your professors and, of course, your student media. They are straight, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning — but the common thread is that they all support LGBT rights. And they represent just a fraction of the Kent State community that does so.

If you’re a member of Kent State’s LGBT community who has yet to come out, take heart. Listed on this page are more than 100 people who will not judge you, belittle you or condemn you for not being heterosexual. These people support you. And trust us, there are more out there who are just like them.

We’ve come a long way since the days when old white guys were the only Americans with rights. These days, women and racial minorities can vote and, oh yeah, use the same drinking fountains as everyone else. People of different races can marry one another and can hold hands in the mall without so much as turning a head.

LGBT community members still have many more rights to fight for. This list shows they are not alone in their struggle.

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