At best, the chosen event name represents gross negligence. At worst, it misappropriates the term “coming out,” a long-standing rhetorical symbol of gay liberation, to serve a movement that oppresses and marginalizes the LGBTQIA community. This linguistic theft is both offensive and morally wrong.
Queer students at the University feel more than just “uncomfortable” about negotiating the daunting task of coming out to their friends, family, employers, coworkers and teachers. Many feel threatened on a daily basis, and some are altogether unable to live openly.Last week, for example, an award ceremony was held in Holmes Lounge to honor 1990 alumnus James Holobaugh, an ROTC cadet whose University scholarship was revoked by the U.S. Army after he came out as gay. Holobaugh’s case, though nearly 20 years old, would be treated no differently today. Because of the U.S. military’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” excluding gays and lesbians from serving openly, LGBTQIA students at our University who have come out are currently banned from participating in its ROTC scholarship program. Queer University students who wish to enlist in our country’s armed forces are expressly prohibited from coming out.