Students support Broncos in coming out celebration
Eddie Solis Jr.
THE SANTA CLARA
October 16, 2014
Santa Clara students celebrated sexual diversity last week by creating a space that allowed students to be vocal and proud of their sexual orientation on National Coming Out Day.
“Coming out is the most powerful tool in equality, especially when you can put a face to the issue,” said junior Kristen Grewe. “The idea of the day is to be proud and be visible so that coming out doesn’t seem like a hidden thing, but is instead something that is celebrated.”
Grewe is the program coordinator of the Gay and Straight People for the Education of Diversity program of Santa Clara Community Action Program.
On Oct. 1, club members tabled in Benson Plaza in a collision of color, energy and music.
Students spray painted backpack banners to voice their support for gay rights. A large faux closet was erected, inviting students to “come out” in a light-hearted way. As if addressing the boogeyman that many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered people face, a message atop the doors read, “Clothes are for closets.”
As done in years past, participants signed the wardrobe and a whiteboard, offering thanks for the support system. Messages included words of encouragement to others in the coming out process and student signatures. The goal of the day was for Santa Clara to be a visible beacon of support.
October is LGBT History Month. It was established as a time to observe the history of the gay rights and other related civil rights movements.
On Oct. 16, National LGBT Spirit Day, people are encouraged to wear purple in solidarity with those who have suffered from bullying and oppression for their sexuality. The club will be tabling to spread awarenes of the day’s importance in the LGBT community.
Sophomore Jose Arriaga appreciated the club bringing LGBT issues to light.
“It creates a sense of community,” he said. “It allows the non-LGBT community to see the hardship of coming out. It’s difficult to own up to who you are. It gives people a small glimpse of what it’s like to come out of the closet.”
LGBT students may be facing discrimination or hardships in secret because sexuality is not an obvious component of one’s identity.
Although the LGBT community may not be immediately identifiable, there are plenty of resources for students who would identify as a gender or sexuality-based minority. The Rainbow Resource Center located in downstairs Benson Memorial Center offers an array of support groups for LGBT students and allies.
In addition, the RRC is a “Safe Space,” inviting students to be themselves without fear of judgment. The “Safe Space” stickers around campus are a visible sign that students and university members can freely hold conversations on LGBT issues.
Freshman Benita Koh felt that the small rainbow sticker can offer a large amount of support for students.
“I have seen Safe Space stickers all over the place,” said Koh. “It’s great. You can go wherever and talk about our issues and we have a place where we can express our feelings and who we are and not be judged by it.”
GASPED also hosts events that encourage acceptance and normalization of the gay lifestyle. These events include an annual drag show and Rainbow Prom, which allows students to attend with their dates, regardless of their gender.
Despite controversy surrounding last year’s drag show, GASPED continues to host these events so Broncos can rejoice in the spirit of acceptance and lean on each other for support.
An example of this support network was found in a note left on the faux closet. One student signed their name next to the equality symbol and beneath that, a visiting ‘84 graduate directly wrote, “I support LGBT (Santa Clara) students.”
Contact Eddie Solis Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org .