“Come out, come out, come out!”
Echoing the words of famed San Francisco politician and gay rights advocate Harvey Milk, that is what GU Pride Co-Programming Chair Lisa Frank (COL ’13) said when asked about the message of Georgetown’s Coming Out Week.
GU Pride is hosting a series of events as part of National Coming Out Week for the sixth consecutive year. At Georgetown, organizers want the week’s events to increase the visibility of the University’s LGBT community on campus, especially among students who do not personally know gay people, JC Hodges (SFS ’11), the treasurer of GU Pride, said.
“Another goal is to show people who might not be out and visiting students that there is a LGBTQ community on campus,” GU Pride co-programming chair Rehana Mohammed (SFS ’12) said.
Nationwide, Coming Out Week is taking place shortly after several teens who were bullied because of their sexual orientation committed suicide. But members of GU Pride are not focusing on the negative this week.
“Every year, these things happen,” Mohammed said. “We stick to schedule and we just come out.”
Events kicked off on Monday night with a performance of Dear Harvey, a play comprised of real letters sent to Harvey Milk or writings by the gay advocate, who was assassinated in 1978. According to the play’s director, Visiting Professor of Theater Susan Lynskey, the production aimed to “help shine a light on all of the events and programming of the entire week.”
It was a somber way to begin what Mohammed called “a week-long celebration of the whole rainbow of identities.”
At Tuesday’s “Come OUT in Red Square,” GU Pride members, unmistakable in their matching purple t-shirts gathered in Red Square and talked to passersby and danced to Lady Gaga songs. Behind them stood a door that allowed people to symbolically come out. Blake Johnson (COL ’14), GU Pride’s publicity chair, said that students were encouraged to publicly declare their sexual identity with the door.
“Even for those who are out to family and friends, it’s another thing to say it publicly,” Johnson said.