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September 07, 1989 - Image 34

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-07

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Page 10 - The Michigan Daily/New Student Edition - Thursday, September 7, 1989

Closets

are

Anonymous

To thine own self by true, and it
follows as the day follows night, you
cannot then be false before any
other.
-Shakespeare
It may seem incongruous to write
a letter about coming out, and then
leave the article unsigned. However,
gay awareness includes recognizing
that this letter could have been writ-
ten by almost anyone. I often hear
casual acquaintances, or classmates
make comments like, "I don't know
any gay people," or worse, I hear
them tell gay jokes. Whether you re-
alize it or not, I'm your classmate,
teammate, roommate, co-worker,
professor, acquaintance, best friend,
sister, even your ex-girlfriend or
boyfriend.
Stop reading for a moment and
look around. One of every 10 people
you see is gay. There are two or
three lesbians and gay men in your
psych discussion; 30 in your chem
lecture; 100 in your dorm; 450 in
your graduating class; 3,500 at the
University, and 10,000 in Ann
Arbor. We go to school with you,
work with you, and live with you.

In short, we are everywhere.
I like living in Ann Arbor. Every
now and then I begin to think it's a
liberal, accepting city where it's
okay to be gay and be out. Then
something always happens to prove
me wrong... again. This past year it
was seeing the flyers I posted for
Gay Awareness Week torn down
within 15 minutes of hanging them.
Thirty-six hours later, only a handful
remained. That means more than 500
were destroyed. Does them happen to
posters for Greek Week? College
Democrats? Intervarsity Christian
Fellowship? The Glee Club? Any
other campus group? It makes me
both sad and angry to see how much
homophobia there is on this campus
and everywhere.
Coming out of the closet is both a
personal and a political process.
Staying in the closet means hating
ourselves, denying our existence, ly-
ing, and perpetuating stereotypes,
oppression, and homophobia.
When I visit my parent and rela-
tives I find myself censoring my
speech and stripping myself of any
personality and affect. I never talk
about my membership in the
Lesbian and Gay Men's Rights

for clothes
Organizing Committee (LaGROC). LaGROC and have helped plan
A fun evening painting posters and events for Lesbian and Gay Men's
banners for Lesbian and Gay Men's Awareness Week, and publicly came
Awareness Week becomes "working out by speaking at a rally on the
on a project with a few people." I'm Diag. When I do these things I feel
excited and happy about dating a empowered.
woman I've recently met, but I talk Coming out can be scary... but it
about "hanging out with a friend." I is empowering to know that
find myself doing this at work also. LaGROC offers a safe environment
I go to the Christmas party alone, where you can participate in the
while everyone else brings their sig- struggle for gay rights. As a
nificant other. I hide the books LaGROC member you can organize
Lesbian Sex and Positively Gay events for Lesbian and Gay Men's
when my supervisor stops by my Awareness Week, plan rallies, teach-
home. I remain silent during lunch ins, facilitate discussions, design
while my co-workers talk about their posters - develop your leadership
boyfriends. When I do these things I skills in a safe environment.
feel angry. LaGROC over the last few years
Coming out means accepting our- has organized demonstrations to
selves, raising consciousness, fight- protest police inaction around as-
ing for our rights, and loving our- saults against lesbian and gay men
selves and each other. When I came outside local bars; lobbied regents
out to my sister we began to grow and administrators to include sexual
closer for the first time since junior orientation in the University's non-
high. We share our stories and feel- discrimination by-law; and sat in the
ings about current relationships, and administration bathrooms to protest
I no longer censor my speech. I homophobic comments by a Uni-
came out to a co-worker and now versity Regent.
share with her my fears about com- Please join us in the struggle, all
ing out to my parents, my involve- are welcome. LaGROC meets
ment in politics, and my anxiety and every Tuesday at 7:30 in the
happiness about a date. I joined Michigan Union room 3100.

"

JOSE JUAREZ/Daily
a LaGROC rally

A student actually "comes out" of the closet during

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