Students come out to party

William Dunton,

The Coming Out Party held last Thursday, April 26 in celebration of the newly available LGBTQ Studies Associate Degree for Transfer was lively and included a table of refreshments and free condoms. After brief intermingling, short speeches began about the event itself and what is in store for the future of the degree and the Allies club.

LGBT Studies professor Jeff Matthews and librarian Kim Wentworth took the floor to welcome and thank everyone for coming out to the event.

“Because the LGBT movement has come of age it’s no longer just sort of a fringe thing that not a lot of people know about,” said Matthews.

He also gave the wise advice to LGBTQ students. “Only by knowing your past and how you got to where we are that you can learn how to go forward with social political struggle.”

After, the degree was explained and it was said it was a long time coming and had been in the works for years. Program handouts were also given to students who were interested in the degree.

Wentworth said she wants students to feel safe and comfortable in the library and that it is a safe space with a ton of resources on LGBT issues.

Next to speak was Allies President Akila Briggs who spoke of the club’s excitement about the new degree and information about their club meetings.

“I believe that we will have more people that are aware of who they are in terms of their sexuality and maybe even gender identity,” she said about the Allies club. “Allies is kinda that gateway where they can still come and hangout and meet people of those orientations they’re curious about and meet people that I think are all around a good group of people to hang out with.”

After the introduction, everyone dispersed, some moving off to talk to their friends and peers. Some who attended came to support friends, catch up with each other and talk to faculty about program information.

“I think it’s really cool and it’s exciting that there’s a degree coming out for this,” said student Danielle Cooper. “It’s really cool to see it be so supported.”

LMC President Bob Kratochvil had some words about the event, “They’ve been at it for several years. I know and the fruits of their work are now upon us and this is really a great event to celebrate all their hard work.”

When asked how the faculty feels about the addition of this degree he said, “When it went to the board the governing board members were very, very happy about the curriculum that was put forward in this new program.”

Overall the event was a great introduction for students who are interested in the program and they provided a great experience for all who attended.