Coming Out Week celebrates marriage equality

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Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

After the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage this year, the LGBT community has a new cheer: ‘Love wins.’

By Tress-Marie Landa

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

A year ago this week, international studies Professor, Jonathan Lee, predicted marriage would soon be legal for gays and lesbians in the U.S.

“I never thought I’d have the right to be married,” he said during his “Gays in America” lecture for this college’s 2014 Coming Out Week. “I still don’t, but I will soon.”

He was right. Today, as he prepares for this year’s Coming Out Week Oct. 12-16, Lee reflects on a sea change over the summer.

The Supreme Court on June 26 ruled 5-4 in favor of same-sex marriage.

“During last year’s events, I told the audience that I would be getting married before this year’s Coming Out Week,” Lee said. “And we did, in July.”

With a timely theme of marriage equality, this week’s events will include an opening ceremony by Dr. Jothany Blackwood, vice president of academic success, at 10 a.m. Monday in the mall.

Dr. Vicky Elias, sociology professor at Texas A&M University–San Antonio, will give the presentation “How Did This Happen? Deconstructing Change in What We Call Marriage” 10:50 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. Tuesday in Room 122 of Chance Academic Center.

Elias will discuss today’s different types of families and the changes of gender roles in society, she said.

“A lot of people are shocked at how different families are today, with same-sex marriage and young people deciding not to get married, the high divorce rate,” Elias said.

Today’s society must accept that families are no longer just a biologically related mother, father and children.

“What is family?” she said, “(It) is a question that every generation is forced to face, forced to answer. Children will answer differently than their parents. Their children will answer differently than them. What we call family is ever changing. It is a broader definition now. It is who we take care of, who we share our memories with; it is not just blood related.”

“People assume that what they have experienced in their own family is normal,” she said. “And what I hope to show is that is not a safe assumption.”

The presentation will conclude with a luncheon 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m. in Room 122 of Chance.

A screening of the documentary “Valentine Road” will be 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday in Room 101 of Longwith Radio, Television, and Film Building.

The documentary focuses on eighth-grader Larry King, murdered by a classmate for being gay. A Q-&-A with LGBT activists will follow the film.

Drag Bingo will bring local performers from the Main Avenue strip and other areas 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Fiesta Room of Loftin Student Center.

A speaker from BEAT AIDS Thursday will help students understand how to practice safe sex, prevent sexually transmitted diseases and learn to cope with diseases such as HIV. The time and place will be announced on display monitors around the campus or at www.alamo.edu/sac.

Ann Margaret Trujillo, associate director of the Center for Inclusion and Community Engagement the University of Texas at San Antonio, will discuss the ways to create a better workplace or academic environment that encourages equality and supports the LGBT community.

The event known as “Ally Training” will take place from 11 a.m. to noon Friday in Room 122 of Chance.

Lee, a keynote speaker at past Coming Out Weeks, said, “In my experience, what has been most beneficial for our college’s LGBT population has been the leadership provided by our administration, both past and present. Dr. Robert Zeigler (former president of this college) was a great champion for us.”

Attending these events can be helpful even for those who are not homosexual, he said.

People who have a family member or friend who might be struggling with their sexuality or coming out to their peers can learn from participating during Coming Out Week.

“These events let those struggling know they are not alone. Everyone comes out at their own time and pace and everyone should be allowed to tell their story when they are ready,” Lee said. “My husband and I both came out at different times and in different manners to our families.”

Lee described his reflections soon after the historic same-sex marriage ruling.

“When the Supreme Courts overturned the ban on same-sex marriage last summer, I walked through the grocery store later that day and looked at all the little children who are never going to understand what it was like when we as a society denied marriage equality to a few and just how much society has changed since Anita Bryant’s crusade against LGBT in the ’70s when I was a little boy.”

For more information, call Lee at 210-486-1097 or email jlee@alamo.edu.

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