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National Coming Out Week Has Colorful Start

Co-President of the LGBTQA, Jordan Darosh, signs alliance pledgeIt’s time to dust off your Elton John albums and rummage through the closet for your rainbow feather boa because Monday marked the beginning of National Coming Out Week. The LGBTQA community has a schedule full of diverse festivities to help celebrate pride and bring about equality and acceptance.

“Bonded By The Rainbow” is the theme of this year’s week long celebration that aims to inform Penn State about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and allied community. Through award-winning speakers and a pride rally on the steps of Old Main, the LGBTQA hopes to show students that it’s “okay to be gay.”

The importance of Coming Out Week was expressed by Program Outreach intern Cassidy Kavanagh on Monday. “In light of the suicides of gay teens in recent news, it’s important for students to know there is a supportive place for them on campus.”

A giant rainbow balloon arch caught the attention of passing students on the ground floor of the HUB-Robeson Center yesterday. It was part of the official kick off to National Coming Out Week titled “The HUB Takeover.” The LGBTQA had a staff of volunteers handing out literature about how to get involved in the LGBTQA community. Some of the pamphlets included information on the gay fraternity Delta Lambda Phi and a counsel dedicated to the protection of civil rights for gay students. Tucked discreetly between a pile of free condoms was a pledge for students to sign to promise alliance with the LGBTQA community. The pledge was a visual representation of a signer’s support of the groups fight for equality.

Jordan Darosh, Co-President of the LGBTQA student alliance, is excited about the exposure that Coming Out Week brings to the LGBTQA community. “It shows that we are here, we are queer and we are Penn State.”

To make sure you don’t miss out any of the events planned, here is a list of the activities going on throughout the week.

Today at 7 p.m. at the HUB auditorium, the multitalented MilDred shares tales of her journey through an inspirational life. With unique artistic performances inspired by her Haitian background, MilDred explores the importance of finding yourself in the labels and stereotypes of society.

On Wednesday at 12 p.m., the Old Main Steps will be taken over by prideful protesters for the National Coming Out Week rally. Members of the rowdy crowd hope to raise awareness for the gay community and break down any existing walls of bias.

On Thursday, the festivities continue with “Is Faith Straight.” This event showcases a panel of LGBTQA students who found a balance between their sexual orientations and their religious views. The theme of the event is “why coming out doesn’t mean being left out” and hopes to spread awareness of the conviction between faith groups and the gay community. The seminar takes place at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center at 12:30 p.m. Also on Thursday, award-winning speaker Robyn Ochs presents an educational presentation on the bisexual community. Ochs addresses myths about bisexuality in hopes to spread understanding of having “the best of both worlds.” The event begins at 7 p.m. in Heritage Hall.

The week is then wrapped up Friday with a drag show in Alumni Hall at 10 p.m. Come see the gender lines being skewed by an engaging performance put on by LGBTQA students. The drag show is sure to bring the week-long celebration out with a bang.

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