Out and Proud week is an annual event here at Western to promote awareness and acceptance of queer people of color. Triangle Alliance, Safe Zone, and the Multicultural Student Union worked together to host this amazing week long event that included workshops, activities, and events to educate and advocate!
I went to as many activities as I could fit in my schedule, and even then, there were a few I had to miss! I was so amazed at how many events could take place in one week!
Monday, a Safe Zone Ally training session was held in the morning to educate participants on queer issues and how to be an advocate and active ally of the LGBTQ community.
Tuesday, a panel of 4 LGBTQ students shared their coming out stories and answered questions as a panel about their experiences being a member of the LGBTQ community. I found it really inspiring that these students would be so open and honest about themselves to a room full of people. Each member of the panel shared their “Coming Out” story and answered questions asked by the coordinator and by the audience.
Wednesday, I played the Game of Life: Queer Edition! We drew slips of paper from a cup to give us an identity and we went through the hypothetical life of that identity. What was really eye opening was learning about marital benefits and what that means to people who don’t live in states that acknowledge homosexual marriages.
Wednesday evening, the 4th Annual Out and Proud Dinner was hosted in the Columbia Room in the Werner University Center. Going into this dinner, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that food would be served, which is always a major plus for a college student, and I also knew there would be a speaker. The speaker, CM Hall is a professor here at Western and also an out faculty member. During my first few weeks here, I was introduced to CM and found out about a LGBT Studies class she is teaching now. Her speech at the dinner was very inspiring, she made more than one person (myself included) tear up a number of times, and ended her speech with having us sing with her the song True Colors.
All and all, it was an amazing week that opened many eyes and taught many people vocabulary they didn’t know before that will help them become more accepting people and help offer a safe campus for anyone to life at. That’s one of my favorite things about WOU and was definitely a factor in my decision to come here, I needed a place where I can express myself and grow as a person that I could feel safe while I did so. Western definitely gives me the warm, comfortable environment I was looking for and Out and Proud Week just brought that feeling to a whole new level!
By Gabrielle Boyle