We Are Who We Are
National Coming Out Day at SC4
St. Clair County Community College’s Gay Straight Alliance hosted National Coming out Day Panel discussions at the Clare E. McKenzie Building’s memorial room on Oct 11. Panel members were: Sean Lathrop, Sc4 student and President of SC4’s Gay Straight Alliance; Kenneth Grim, SC4 alumni; Adam Taylor, a LBGT Mental Health/Political & Social Media Consultant; Chris Brennan, Sc4 student; Jodi Branton, GSA co- advisor; and Gara Cesefsky of Alaska.
According to the Human Rights Campaign web site (www.hrc.org), GBLT (Gay, Bisexual, Lesbian, Transgender) citizens from across the country have gathered every year since 1987 to focus on challenges faced in their daily lives.
Members of PFLAG Sarnia-Blue Water (Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and the St. Clair County Health Department were present with printed material and people to answer questions from the audience. According to members, they felt it important to support the students.
“We would not take the opportunity to support our sons and daughters;” said PFLAG member Betty Learn of Sarnia Ontario. Learn felt it was important to show the students that were people in the community that supported them.
Panelists and audience members discussed topics such as: adoption, how to talk with a friend who is gay, struggles faced in their daily life and the increase in suicide amongst LBGT students. According to Adam Taylor, three out of five teen suicides are from members of the gay community. “We have lost 10 youth in 5 weeks to suicide,” said Taylor. He explained that thirty percent of homeless teens are homeless due to their sexuality.
Taylor and Kenneth Grim both felt acceptance of same sex marriage was an area they wanted to see improvement in, both saying they felt it a right that should be offered to same sex couples. “Religious-based morality is not a reason to deny civil access to gay people,” said Taylor.
Panelist Chris Brennan encouraged people to talk to their families about supporting gay rights issues. “Tell them (family) why you believe what you believe,” said Brennan. All the panelists agreed that people should speak up when bigotry is heard. “Speak up. Say something,”said Taylor.
Trevor Project is a free, 24 hour, confidential, suicide hotline. If you or someone you know is struggling, contact the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386