Coming Out Week offers a lot of support

Anyone who knows me and reads this will probably be somewhat shocked, but not because I’m gay. I am politically active, but I am more likely to be found fighting for women’s rights or the environment than gay rights. I would never consider myself part of the “Queer community.” I don’t even really agree with everything Vision does, but sometimes a person just has to stand up and speak for what is right.

The summer before I came to Bowling Green, I went to New York. It was such an incredible experience for me. I remember how cool it was to see so many different kinds of people living in one area. This was something I would never see in Ohio. Luckily, I happened to be there at the right time to see something extraordinary: a gay pride parade.

It certainly was not what I was expecting. While the parade was a big spectacle, it also showed a new side of homosexuality. I saw gay lawyers, gay bikers, gay librarians and even gay midgets. Yes, nearly every type of person you could think of had their own float or spot in the parade. They marched on happy, festive and proud. It was so exciting. Then came the part that really hit close to home, the gay students banner.

It was like looking in a mirror, except I couldn’t be proud. I lived in Ohio, after all and there seemed to be no gay people in Ohio. I was all alone … no parade, no float and no gay students banner.

I thought about that parade for a long time. I was envious of all those people. They lived in the big city and everyone had a place to go and feel comfortable. Differences were being celebrated and people were happy. I came to Bowling Green realizing life would not be like that. There would be no one else like me. I had a plan though. I would wait until after I had graduated and move someplace as open as New York. Someplace I could be happy and open.

My first few days at Bowling Green were wonderful. Soon, a turning point in my life would occur. Between classes, I enjoyed sitting outside of the old union to watch the crowds. While sitting there one day, I looked over and saw something interesting going on. There were balloons and rainbow colored ribbons being put up. I was curious and checked things out. Apparently it was some sort of gay coming out day. I skipped classes that day to watch what was going on. They were there all day long —- other people just like me. I didn’t talk to them, but a week later I came out.

Here I am five years later. I have never attended a Vision meeting, I’ve never protested for gay rights and you’ll never catch me waving a rainbow flag in front of the education building. But I can now hold my head high. I can hold my boyfriend’s hand in public and I have no shame in who I am. I need to thank the people of Vision for that. I realized that no matter where I go, be it one of the largest cities in the world or a cornfield in the middle of Ohio —- I am not alone.

I believe that is the point of Coming Out Week. Some of you may disagree with the cause and I am sure many of you disagree with the lifestyle. But this week isn’t about you. It’s about everyone out there who is confused with his or her life. It’s about that young freshman who feels he is alone in the world. It’s about the being yourself and being happy with your life.

As for those of you that find it offensive to see a bunch of homosexuals prancing around with a football: oh well. Many in the gay community find it offensive to walk through downtown Bowling Green and being called a “fag.” Many of you will never accept my lifestyle and many will cringe if you ever see me kiss my boyfriend. Oh well. We’re here. We’re (for the sake of rhyme) Queer. Get used to it.