Instead of the normal fall colors that blanket the lower quad this time of year, tables at Tuesday’s convocation hour were draped in the colors of the rainbow for Allies’ celebration of National Coming Out Day.
The first National Coming Out Day was Oct. 11, 1987. On that day, 500,000 people participated in the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. The march led to the creation of multiple gay and lesbian organizations, according to the Human Rights Campaign website.
Thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied people continue to celebrate the march’s anniversary by hosting National Coming Out Day workshops and rallies. St. Thomas’ Allies group placed a cardboard closet in the quad for people to walk through.
After stepping out of the closet, sophomore Brett Lage said, “[I support Allies] first and foremost because I am a gay man, and secondly because I want it to be known on campus that being gay here is okay.”
He said that awareness is especially important because St. Thomas is a predominantly Catholic university.
The Allies event also allowed members of the St. Thomas community to write messages to those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and ally community. Writing these messages reminded many of the multiple teenage suicides that have occurred around the country in recent weeks as a result of gay bullying.
“It’s a tragedy,” Lage said. “It should not happen and it’s irresponsible of people to allow bullying just because of a subtle difference.”
The event was put on by the Allies in conjunction with STAR.
“STAR has a program to co-op events with different clubs on campus,” said Allies president Jess Novak. “This is the third year we’ve had the event and every year they’ve co-opped.”
Colleen Schreier can be reached at email@example.com.