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An Ally a Day Keeps Oppression Away

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Photo Credit: Lilly Milman

Sunday, October 11th, 2015. To most, this may just seem like an arbitrary date, but to others, it will be life changing. The anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, this day has since been dubbed National Coming Out Day. An annual holiday dedicated to pride and human love, it celebrates the very delicate process of one’s self-disclosure of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, otherwise known as “coming out of the closet,” or simply just “coming out.”

Photo Credit: Lilly Milman
Photo Credit: Lilly Milman

However, this holiday is much more complex than it sounds. Given the stigma attached to the LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, etc.) community, the act of coming out is not always a smooth journey. In 1991, Judith Butler–an American gender theorist–stated that “‘coming out’ does not free gay people from oppression,” and this unfortunately still holds true today. Coming out is a rite of passage for any LGBT+ person, and is often a turning point in his or her life, but is often met with reproach. Despite the growing acceptance towards the LGBT+ community, at least 40 percent of homeless youth have been kicked out of their homes due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. For this reason, many elect to keep their identities a secret out of fear.

The Hills West Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) will be drawing attention to this issue by observing the holiday in school on Friday, October 9th. Rather than encouraging people to come out, they themselves will be ‘coming out’ as supporters and allies towards the movement. This brand of support has been successful in the past as it emphasizes love and acceptance, while decreasing the pressure for one to actually come out as LGBT+. Throughout the day, club members will be offering rainbow ribbons to the student body and providing information to anyone that is interested.

If there are any questions regarding National Coming Out Day, the LGBT+ community, or GSA meetings, they can be directed to any club officer or to Mr. Romano.