Home > Public Square > It’s Time to Come OUT

It’s Time to Come OUT

In light of National Coming Out Month, the Queer and Ally Student Association (QuASA) hosted a Gay & Greek Panel Discussion about their experiences in the Greek community. Although students of the panel say they would rush again, the Daily Trojan reports that Greeks and the LGBT community are still at odds.

Now, more than ever before, universities have a responsibility to promote tolerance and acceptance of their gay students. With at least five gay youth suicides in the past month, it is important to provide an all-around solid support system for queer students by bringing together different facets of college communities.

And that’s what QuASA is trying to do. At the panel, QuASA executive director Emily Allen said:

Stereotypically, the Greek community is one that has been known to be different from the gay community.” She added, “We want to see where those differences are coming from and encourage communication between the different communities.

Communication between members of different groups would reinforce the fact that GLBTQ people are no different from straight people. And even on a broader scale, there needs to be more communication between separate groups on campus, where students of diverse backgrounds can share their experiences with each other. By increasing communication, tolerance will eventually form and hopefully acceptance, too.

Either way, communication is key. As part of National Coming Out Month, be out and proud all month, but especially on Monday, October 11 for National Coming Out Day.

To quote the courageous gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk:

Gay brothers and sisters,… You must come out. Come out… to your parents… I know that it is hard and will hurt them but think about how they will hurt you in the voting booth! Come out to your relatives… come out to your friends… if indeed they are your friends. Come out to your neighbors… to your fellow workers… to the people who work where you eat and shop… come out only to the people you know, and who know you. Not to anyone else. But once and for all, break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions. For your sake. For their sake.

Categories: Public Square
  1. October 11, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    For my final project in my broadcast reporting class last semester, I did a piece on relations between the Greek and the LGBT community. Through the handful of gay fraternity members I spoke with, I found out that many choose not to officially “come out” to their fraternity brothers in fear of getting teased, discriminated against, or something not as blatant — just noticing changes in the behavior of those around him. Some who chose to come out in the rush or pledge process said they felt vulnerable. I think it’s great that QuASA is taking active steps to dissolve these issues. We’ve come a long way as a generation to understand and accept the LGBT community, but we’ve still got a long way to go.

  2. December 1, 2010 at 1:16 am

    I was talking to one of my roommates the other day about this very topic. He’s straight and in a fraternity and we were discussing two of his former brothers – one was out and the other – well, everyone “knew he was gay, but he just didn’t talk about it”. Is that kind of statement typical of members of the Greek community? That is a question that could probably be asked at every college campus around the country, with mixed results.

    Anyway, both of the brothers ended up dropping out of the fraternity, the first for financial reasons and the second for undisclosed reasons. According to my roommate, the first brother enjoyed the Greek experience much more and that him being out ultimately made it easier for him to make the most of it. The second brother encountered several unpleasant situations because people were cagey about his sexual orientation. Harvey Milk says to “break down the myths, destroy the lies and distortions” by coming out. Regardless of Brother #2’s sexuality, I find it incredibly messed up that, still, in Los Angeles, a lack of tolerance exists so clearly.

    Ultimately, I agree that communication and mutual understanding is key. Indeed, we still have a long way to go.

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