Drag show, ‘speak out’ tables mark 20th Coming Out Day

One group on campus chalked its views and strutted its stuff without any negative feedback this year.

Common Ground celebrated “Coming out Day” Oct. 11 by holding a Drag Show and “Speak Out” tables on the university plaza where people had the chance to listen to the group’s coming out stories and other information regarding the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Last October, the Northerner reported students were divided between two Facebook groups: “NKU students against Coming Out Day” and “NKU students against NKU students against Coming Out Day.”

In both 2005 and 2006, the week of “Coming Out Day,” Common Ground, which organized the event, chalked on campus to advertise it. However, in both years unidentified individuals chalked large amounts of anti-gay messages such as “It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.”

“I saw people reading the chalkings, which prove they do grab attention,” said Pavel Romero, secretary of Common Ground.

Romero added that Common Ground heard little negative feedback on the matter.

This year “Coming out Day” marked the 20th anniversary of the second Gay/Lesbian March on Washington. The first was held Oct. 4, 1979. According to www.GLBTQ.com, a Web site devoted to the fight for gay rights, many of the half million marchers involved in 1987 were angry over the government’s slow and inadequate response to the AIDS crisis, as well as the Supreme Court’s 1986 decision to uphold sodomy laws in Bowers vs. Hardwick.

According to the Human Rights Campaign Web site, Oct. 11 also marks the anniversary of the unveiling of the AIDS quilt, in which each square represents a life lost to AIDS.

Romero noted that he heard of the commemoration, however, there wasn’t much of a focus on it this year by Common Ground.

The Human Rights Committee announced that the slogan for “Coming out Day” this year was “Talk about it.”

Romero said that this slogan fits, because even though people are more open-minded to gays and lesbians, it is still taboo to talk about homosexuality.

“Its like there’s an elephant in the room, but no one will say anything,” he said.

Romero added that even though there is a day dedicated to it, it is still a struggle for people to come out.

“When (Common Ground) does our chalkings there are people who smirk and say ‘Oh look the gays did this,’ or wonder why we even do it,” Romero said. “This goes to prove that there is still a negative backlash to homosexuality and people are not comfortable with it.”

For those struggling with coming out to their family, friends and peers, Romero offers this advice: “Take your time, it is a very long process. In time, you will find the right moment and the courage where you realize how much better your life will be not living a lie.”

Although it’s been 20 years since the first Coming Out Day, Romero wants to concentrate the future. “I think we are more focused on the future and trying to make things better for the community in the years to come.”