CSN supports LGBTQ

imagesCAGVAP3DBy Stephanie Lyte

College of Southern Nevada partnered with The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada to host a faculty and student mixer on Oct. 9 in honor of National Coming Out Day.

Charlene Gibson, CSN instructor, helped plan the event. She shared the importance of why she supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

“As a straight ally, I want to be part of the movement that encourages love and acceptance for everyone regardless of how they identify,” Gibson said.

The event held at The Center provided an open-mic forum for people to get up and share coming-out stories. Dr. Joe Hassert, CSN instructor who helped plan the event, shared his poem. Approximately 40 people attended including CSN and high-school students and supporters. The purpose of the event was to increase awareness.

Dr. Owen Pillion, professor at CSN, was involved in the preparation and planning for this event. “Coming out is an important political and personal event in every non-straight person’s life.”

CSN’s Office of Community Relations, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Queer Inclusive Campus Committee were part of this event. The QICC represents the LGBTQ community at CSN. Formed last year, this is the first committee of its kind here on campus, according to Pillion.

“This event was important to show LGBTQ students that they have a lot of support not only at CSN but also in our community,” Gibson said. “I came out to the event because I have a lot of LGBTQ friends, many of whom did not have the care and support of people and places like The Center when they themselves came out.”

Though some come out openly, others pick if, when and who they share that with.

“It’s OK not to come out,” said Marie Perez-Navarro, CSN student. “I’m glad I attended Las Vegas Academy; it had a very open environment that was very supportive of its diverse population.” She mentioned students at LVA could be who they are without fear of judgment.

According to May 2014 Gallup poll, 55 percent of Americans favor same-sex marriage rights. The younger demographic of voters between ages 18 and 29 tend to support gay marriage with 78 percent in favor.

Further, the recent decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to not review same-sex marriage appeals from lower courts strengthens the original courts’ rulings that previously allowed gay marriages.

“I found it interesting that the Supreme Court chose not to hear gay marriage ban cases this session,” Gibson said. “Choosing not to, it opened the doors for other states to allow gay marriage.”

“I have mixed feelings,” Pillion said. “I do think we need a ruling on the issue so that it becomes the law of the land in every state regardless if the majority of the people in each state are on board with it or not.”

National Coming Out Day was made official on Oct. 11, 1988 and has gained global recognition in the LGBTQ community.

Ryan Spellman, who attended the event in support of friends, made a poignant comment. “Straight and gay equals great.”

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