Following last week’s “Espresso Your Faith Week,” Boston College and the GLBTQ Leadership Council hosted “National Coming Out Week” over the past few days with a variety of exciting and entertaining events all over campus. On Monday, members of the GLC handed out free “Support Love” t-shirts to students during a barbecue held on Stokes Lawn. On that same day, the Supreme Court struck down the appeals against gay marriage in five states, legalizing it in five states, including my home state of Indiana.
In the following few days, NCOW events included a “Gayme” Night on Tuesday, “Opening Boston’s Closet” on Wednesday evening, and a game show on Thursday night called “Guess Who’s Gay,” the GLC’s way of successfully breaking down stereotypes made against members of the GLTBQ community. Tonight is the closing ceremony, which will be in the cabaret room of Vanderslice hall.
As a gay man, I think it’s awesome to see amount of support the BC community has displayed over the past week, especially from the administration of a Catholic university. Events like these are relatively unheard of in my hometown, which prides itself in religious and political conservatism making it difficult for people to even want to come out.
I’m incredibly proud of my school for at least recognizing how coming out to family and friends can be scary as hell, even if you know there will be a positive reaction. I’m even more proud to say that I go to a school where students can and will support each other if finally coming out of the closet doesn’t go as planned.
While I’m immensely grateful to be part of a tolerant and loving community at Boston College that accepts me and other students for being gay, I also love people not knowing I’m gay. I’m not ashamed to be gay in the slightest. In fact, I think it’s really cool. For me, sexuality is something I enjoy keeping private (I say to myself as I type an article for a public domain), so at any event that seemingly exoticizes homosexuality even without the intention of doing so, i.e. NCOW, I’m turned off instantly.
I’m not trying to demonize NCOW in the slightest. The events give GLTBQ students a sense of pride, something thousands of students in religiously affiliated universities have been striving for, while also breaking down stereotypes about homosexuality and promoting the GLBTQ community. As of right now, though, I don’t feel like the events are for me.
I’m very content with the friends I have made so far at BC, and I prefer not to define myself by my sexuality (not saying other homosexuals do), let alone take pride in something I consider so private. This does not mean openly gay students shouldn’t participate based on my feelings towards NCOW because it does foster a sense of community for openly gay and closeted students alike. NCOW does a wonderful job of helping people reach the point where they shouldn’t be afraid of their sexuality, whether it’s the first step for someone or that final push for another, as well as offering a chance for anyone to grow in understanding of themselves and others.
I know where I am in terms of my sexuality; other people, maybe not so much. What’s important to remember during this week is that we are all people still trying to figure life out, especially during college, and if NCOW can help just one person overcome his or her fear of coming out or provide support to someone who needs it, it’s a successful week all in all.
Photos courtesy of Ben Flythe and the GLBTQ Leadership Council.