Stonewall celebrates coming out day
TNE Editor

Stonewall celebrates coming out day

Published 10/5/18

Sebastian Cooper

TNE Writer

The Stonewall Equality Alliance is an organization dedicated to providing a space where LGBTQ individuals can come together and discuss advocacy on campus. The organization is open to any sexual orientation, gender identity, race, creed and ethnicity. The mission of Stonewall is to create conversations concerning LGBTQ life on campus and potential social activism that could extend from those conversations.

The coming out process is a phrase acknowledged by many within the LGBTQ community as the moment an individual transitions from societal standards to the person they were meant to be. Those that identify as LGBTQ have had to come out to love ones, friends, peers and family. This process can be harmful because some who identify as LGBTQ face discrimination, eviction from housing, loss of family support, loss of employment, loss of friends and in some cases, the loss of life.

“Coming out is a personal decision that can only be made by the individual,” said Hannah Emberton, Stonewall public relations chair. “This is important by allowing someone to come to terms with a life that does not align with societal norms. It can be alienating and scary for most individuals if they do not have a strong support system. If a person comes out to another individual be loving, listen and hold it in confidence.”

Students who identify as LGBTQ have a support network at NSU. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is a central guide for outreach concerning LGBTQ campus living and protections. Hawkreach counseling is available for students who have experienced negative situations throughout the coming out process and may need additional support. Those who seek community can join the Stonewall Equality Alliance and become involved with regular social activism.

“Stonewall is like a secondary family for me,” said Alisha Rothrock, Warner sophomore. “Joining SEA made me realize that I am not alone. I have never been judged or treated differently for my sexuality from members within this organization. SEA is probably the most welcoming and inclusive organization on campus.”

Coming out day is recognized on Oct. 11 and is meant to celebrate the authenticity of an individual. Those that identify as LGBTQ are in the coming out process on a daily basis because they come out to new coworkers, new friends or new family members. Often forgotten, allies of the LGBTQ community must come out too when associating moral equality for LGBTQ people.

The Safezone committee, an extension from Diversity & Inclusion, is sponsoring a coming out panel that centers around the coming out process, the outcomes of coming out, LGBTQ statistics, life stories, discussions and a look into the life of an individual who identifies on the LGBTQ spectrum. The panel consists of each panelist introducing themselves, answering questions presented by the moderator and an open question and answer forum. Current panelists include Sam Phillips of Tahlequah, Rebecca Nagle of Tahlequah and Schon Duncan of Stillwell. These individuals are involved in the LGBTQ community and have been advocates for social change.

“When I came out, my grandmother told me to never let anyone else tell me who I should identify as, how I should feel or who I should love” said Sam Phillips, Tahlequah resident. “I am the person I am supposed to be. Her words are what push me when times get difficult.”

The coming out panel is from 6-8 p.m., Oct. 11 in the University Center Morgan room.

For additional information about coming out week, email Emberton at embertoh@nsuok.edu.


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