This week, the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) is hosting a series of events to celebrate National Coming Out Week (NCOW). The events are designed to create awareness of the GLBTQ community on campus and offer support for those who are exploring their sexuality.
Many of the events are socially oriented, allowing students and faculty members to network and find support on campus. Others are more educational, with lectures, panels, and discussions offering information about different struggles the GLBTQ community faces.
On Tuesday night, GLC’s freshman outreach program sponsored a “Gayme Night,” where students and faculty members got the chance to play board games and network with a supportive community. Wednesday night, a panel of experts and members of the GLBTQ community discussed youth and teen GLBTQ suicides and the role religion plays in them.
Joshua Tingley, GLC president and A&S ’13, described tonight’s event, Guess Who’s Gay, as the keynote event of the week.
“Since [Guess Who’s Gay] was created as an event, it’s been done over and over again year in and year out,” Tingley said. “It is really an event meant to break down stereotypes.”
The event is audience interactive, where a group of students stand behind a curtain as they are asked questions. The questions range anywhere from “What’s your favorite TV show?” to “What’s your ideal car?” The audience then guesses the sexuality of the contestants, who reveal themselves after voting is complete. The objective of the event is to inform and educate through entertainment.
“[Guess Who’s Gay] is a fun way to engage a large BC audience, while breaking down the stereotypes associated with LGBT identifying individuals,” said Erica Hendricks, vice president of GLC and A&S ’14.
“Thanks to historical sources and the media, there is a kind of archetype of ‘the gay person’ that, as individuals, we use whenever we hear that label,” Tingley said. “What this event really does is challenge those stereotypes and really put them up there for people to test.”
On Friday afternoon, the event Opening Boston’s Closet serves as part of the closing ceremonies for the week. The open-mic style event will feature students and allies connected with the GLBTQ community sharing stories of their own coming out or those of close friends and relatives who have come out to them. The official closing ceremony will be held on Friday night in conjunction with Nights on the Heights, which is scheduled to have a Support Love photo shoot, music, food, and special activities.
The goal of the GLC and the events compiled for NCOW is to create awareness and support for the GLBTQ community on BC’s campus.
“National Coming Out Week isn’t only about making sure that people who might be nearing the process of coming out have a community to reach, but also showing that there is a broad community outside of GLC,” Tingley said. “The biggest community on this campus is our community of allies.”
The closing ceremony is intended to provide an outlet and highlight those people who have committed to showing their support for the GLBTQ community. All students are encouraged to not only attend the events but also to purchase the Support Love t-shirts at them. This year’s Support Love t-shirts feature a hot pink color, and the GLC has custom-made a BC Superfan Support Love shirt especially for the community this year.