Oct 112004
 
Authors: Krystle Clayton

With a chilly start, students gathered on the Lory Student

Center Plaza Monday with warm hearts and smiles to celebrate

National Coming Out Day, hosted by Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,

Transgender Student Services.

The day consisted of different rounds of Guess the Gay, a game

where a panel of students answered questions from the crowd about

their sexual orientation without directly revealing it. There were

several rounds of the game, and students clapped and laughed at the

responses.

Between games students were invited to the microphone and tell

their coming-out stories with people out on the Plaza. There was a

welcoming environment for students to do so, and they had support

from GLBT Allies, a group that supports GLBT students.

In past years, people have disputed GLBTSS’ cause, said Randy

McCrillis, director of GLBTSS, a campus advocacy office.

“In the past there have been protests, priests and prayer groups

who have come to oppose the event,” McCrillis said.

GLBTSS was established in 1997, but a student group has been on

campus since 1975. NCOD has been on campus since 1990, and the

event has only gotten better, said Dan Leatherman, a GLBT supporter

and Fort Collins resident.

Leatherman was present at the first National March on Washington

for Lesbian and Gay Rights on Oct. 11, 1987. He said there has been

a lot of improvement and progress for GLBT rights, but there is

still progress that needs to be made.

Some students agreed.

“(NCOD) is empowering and reminds us of the struggle that we

have gone through,” said Twana Tisdon, a senior liberal arts major.

“It shows us how far we’ve come, but we still have a long fight. In

a time where there is so much intolerance against us, it’s

empowering to bring a sense of community and family (on

campus).”

Some of the crowd supported the GLBT community by applauding and

cheering.

Cory Youmans, a pastor at the Metropolitan Community Church

Family in Christ, 805 S. Shields St., was in support of the

event.

The MCC is the first national Christian denomination to welcome

and affirm the GLBT community, Youmans said.

“I think this event is necessary, and it should be

constructive,” Youmans said. “It’s critically important for people

to see that the GLBT community is not a threat.”

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