Today is National Coming Out Day — a day not just for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning individuals to speak out about who they are, but also a day for allies to step up and be active voices. This year's event is especially poignant in light of all of the recent youth suicides across the country related to homophobic bullying.
Locally, Colorado College will be offering a host of events all afternoon. From a release:
National Coming Out Day: Monday, Oct. 11, 2010
QSA Tie-Dye on the Quad and EQUAL’s “It Gets Better”
12-1:30p.m. — Worner Quad
Spiritual Journeys Luncheon hosted by the Chaplain’s Office (lunch provided)
12:15p.m. — Shove Chapel
Ally Workshop (open to entire campus)
2-3p.m. — Loomis Lounge
Honoring the Spirit of Coming Out Day
4-4:30p.m. — The Labyrinth near Shove Chapel
In addition, Sarah White, a former Indy intern, and co-chair of CC's EQUAL group, points out that starting at noon the organization will be filming anyone (faculty, students, staff and Springs community members) regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or anything else, who wishes to "comfort and encourage kids in the Colorado Springs who may be tormented by bullying." The final film will be shared with local LGBTQ youth organizations. It also may be posted to Dan Savage's It Gets Better project, a project which has picked up notice just in the past few days for garnering numerous celebrity videos — including this one from Project Runway's Tim Gunn who speaks about his suicide attempt when he was 17.
CC has added a spiritual component to its events this year — a way for the community to reflect upon those who have died and honor those who still struggle with the issues. This past weekend, the New York Times ran an interesting story on how churches "struggle for inclusion."
From the story:
“Clergy have a key role,” said the Rev. Pat Bumgardner, pastor of the Metropolitan Community Church in Manhattan. “We have a chance to shape public opinion, people’s willingness to wrestle with the diversity of God’s creation. Pastors need to step up to the plate and speak about the wrongness of bullying, the wrongness of cruelty.
“There’s no religion on the face of the earth that countenances the taunting to death of children.”
With the large percentage of religious organizations in Colorado Springs, the topic is certainly worth discussing. Also worth discussing, are the many celebrities, in addition to Tim Gunn, who are speaking out this year about the issue. Numerous stars — gay and straight — are participating in the "We Give a Damn" campaign.