Colors of every shade flooded campus this week for Rainbow Union’s annual Coming Out Week. Stephanie Gibb-Clark, a junior vocal performance major and president of Drake’s Rainbow Union, has been working hard to put on this week’s events in honor of Drake’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning and Allied community.
“Coming Out Week, is in conjunction with National Coming Out Day,” Gibb-Clark said. “Rainbow Union, in particular, finds it important for students to understand that you don’t need one special day each year to feel comfortable about coming out as LGBT. Instead, every day should be a safe day to come out. The week-long celebration just creates awareness on campus. People come out every day and that should be celebrated.”
On Sunday, Rainbow Union kicked off the week by providing what every college student loves: free food. Students of all sexual orientations came out for “BBQueer,” a cook-out on the lawn in front of the Comes As You Are house.
On Monday, a round table discussion was held in the Medbury Honors Lounge where students could join faculty and staff in discussing the struggles of coming out as an athlete. Addressing this stigma helps the Rainbow Union create a voice for Drake’s queer community.
“We want Drake’s LGBTQA students to have a voice and an advocate on campus, as well as a safe space to openly discuss his or her sexuality,” Gibb-Clark said. “Rainbow Union, as an organization, strives to give that voice.”
On Tuesday, Coming Out Week switched things up by featuring comedian Chris Doucette in Bulldog Theater. Doucette made a few laughs concerning what Rainbow Union likes to call the “lighter side of coming out.”
Wednesday night featured the famous kings of queens on Pomerantz Stage. Students watched professional drag queens perform to hit songs, waving dollar bills and stuffing them into the performer’s costumes as tips. All the money raised was donated to the Imperial Court of Iowa, whose mission is “to make a difference to the people of Iowa through fun and social consciousness, one dollar at a time.”
The Rainbow Union plans on closing out the week with a screening of the film “Milk” served with cookies on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Bulldog Theater. The film follows the story of Harvey Milk, an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California’s first openly gay elected official.
Overall, Rainbow Union hopes to support Drake’s LGBTQA community by focusing on a wide range of issues while fighting for equality within society. They also hope to inform members of the straight community of the problems that affect queer people’s everyday lives.
“Coming Out Week serves as a celebration of acknowledging that we have come out, we are here, and we are proud to be who we are, while continuously showing people who might be questioning their sexual or gender identities that coming out on our campus is OK and that there will be a support network for you if you need it,” Gibb-Clark said.