In conjunction with National Coming Out Day (October 11) events, I held a program entitled “Closet Cases.” This program was a panel of 6 openly gay students who shared their coming out experiences: Jamal Lewis (Safe Space, Bayard Rustin Scholars), Danny Shelton (Safe Space, ROTC), Malik Ray (RHA, Sophomore Class Council, former White Hall Resident), Marcus Lee (Hubert Hall RA, Morehouse Sociological Association President), Michael Curry (a current White Hall resident) and myself. This was an opportunity for gay identified men of Morehouse to share their stories so that they may be beacons of hope for other students who may not be open. Each person had approx. 12 minutes to answer a set number of questions: How long have you been out; How long have you known you were gay; Who did you come out to first; How did they respond; How did your parents/family respond; and How has it been being openly gay at Morehouse?
Questions were also posed to the panelists that ranged from questioning my balance between religion, spirituality and sexuality to all of our opinions on gay marriage and the gay liberation movement.
My best friend, Matthew Robinson, (former Graves and Hubert Hall RA, Mr. Ally of Safe Space), offered his comments on the evolution of our friendship. He encouraged those present who were not apart of the LGBTQ community to also come out as straight supporters or allies for the community.
Over 70 students, male and female, attended. Faculty and staff members present included Mrs. Hardwick of Student Life, Mr. Green and Mr. Salyers of OHRL, Nurse Gamble of the Infirmary, and Mr. Peterson and Dr. Hodge of the Sociology Department.
Special thanks to funding for food from OHRL, the Faces of Manhood Initiative and the Sociology Dept.