National Coming Out Day

Shelby Carpenter | Op-Ed Submission

This Monday the Washington University community will celebrate National Coming Out Day, an event that fosters coming out and discussions about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. Pride Alliance, an organization that provides political and social programming for the LGBT community on campus, and the Right Side of History, an organization that aims to involve more straight-identifying people in the LGBT rights movement, have worked together to organize National Coming Out Day.

This marks the first event Pride Alliance and the Right Side of History have jointly organized, and hopefully it is the beginning of an ongoing partnership. At first, interactions between the two groups were tense, with the Right Side of History fearing that Pride Alliance was opposed to its initiatives, and Pride Alliance markedly concerned that the Right Side of History would promote LGBT rights while denying a voice to LGBT people themselves. Discussions between Pride and the Right Side of History are ongoing as we try to work together to reach shared goals.

One goal, of course, is creating a safe, supportive community for LGBT students on campus. Come and show that you support an LGBT-friendly Wash. U. by participating in National Coming Out Day. Look for tables at the northeast corner of the DUC on Monday (and expect a healthy dose of Mariah Carey when we are allowed to play music from noon to 1 p.m.).

While National Coming Out Day calls attention to how far we have to go before reaching LGBT equality in the United States, most importantly, it is a celebration. It is a celebration of those who identify as LGBT and those straight-identifying folks who act as allies in the movement. We hope that you will join us. After all, closets are for clothes.

Shelby is a senior in Arts & Sciences. She can be reached via e-mail at slcarpen@wustl.edu.