Gay? fine by me.
October 23, 2009

By Amanda Roy
Senior Writer

Students at The University are often said to be politically apathetic and unaware of important national issues. The annual creation of a list of supporters for National Coming Out Day in October, along with the distribution of free “gay? fine by me” t-shirts at the Office of LGBT Awareness, is a step in the right direction for removing this bad reputation.

The list is undoubtedly a powerful tool for making people of all sexual orientations feel more welcome on campus. It also shows that there are people aware of and in support of the issues potentially faced by people in the process of coming out.

Being able to see that a friend, roommate, professor or advisor is on the list and is accepting can make all the difference in this difficult step. When combined with the t-shirt, this creates a tolerant environment towards sexual diversity in which students can speak out about their orientation.

Almost every day on campus, you can find someone wearing one of the colorful t-shirts. You may not know the person by name or by face, but the fact that you can turn somewhere on this campus and see that there really are people standing up for this cause is amazing. They’re effectively a daily reminder that there are always people on this campus that support LGBT efforts for equality and tolerance.

Simply putting a face with a cause and being able to support something as contested as gay rights is important. This is especially true in Pennsylvania, a state where it is still legal to fire someone with cause based on his or her sexual orientation. College campuses are supposed to be places where we challenge set ideas, suggest changes and see those changes happen for the better.

Will t-shirts and lists necessarily change the way Pennsylvania and those around us view gay rights? No. Can they change this University and our bad reputation for apathy? Certainly. Is it important and valuable that we let those who need us know we support them and show the world we’re willing to put our face to a cause? Absolutely.

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