Oakland University celebrated National Coming Out Day in 2000

A student that wasn’t part of the Pride Forum said they found encouragement in the national day focused on the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Pride Forum set out literature and stickers for students to wear in order to show support for National Coming Out Day.

Rick Herron, senior, english literature and art history, said that he came out his own way on campus.

“On national Coming Out Day, The Pride Forum had a table inside the Oakland Center (OC) and they were giving out stickers and literature about being gay and it was the first day I wore anything pride on my body,” Herron said. “Even though it was only a sticker, it felt different, and it was a good experience I think for both me and the people surrounding me. I just didn’t know what to expect.” 

Vice president of The Pride Forum, Adam Cadd, said that some reaction was received because of the flyers that hung around campus. 

The flyers encouraged students to wear jeans if they supported the gay community.

“There was a reason behind it, it wasn’t just for fun,” Cadd said. “I had read on a webpage that a pride forum at another school was tired of the way things were on campus. So they advertise in the newspaper, for all who were in support of gays to wear jeans, and it wasn’t because they wanted to get back at them, they just wanted them to feel like they were being put into certain categories. It gave people a chance to feel what some of us feel everyday.”

The Pride Forum advertised not only with flyers in the OC, but with The Oakland Post, too. 

Cadd said he saw someone ripping down a poster he had just put up, and refused to stop putting them up. 

The Pride Forum had a couple of people who seemed interested in it, according to Cadd.

“We had people coming up to the table and wearing our stickers, but the coolest thing was that some of the WOCOU staff chalked nice little phrases under ours,” he said. “It relieved a lot of stress to our campus subculture, and let others know that we are here if they need anything, like help and support in the coming out process to their families, friends and anyone else.” 

Herron believed the most important thing was to get people on campus talking about it.

“Any discussion is good, whether it be negative or positive because it’s making students more aware of what it really means to be gay,” he said.

He continued, saying that the students on campus aren’t exposed to it often and when someone comes up to you on campus — it seems more real. 

“Even more importantly, imagine if someone came up to you and asked you about heterosexuality; it’s a little bit like that,” Herron said. “Interest yourself in the person, not their category,” he said. 

OU still advocates for equality and education on sexual orientation. The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) held forums, social gatherings and drag shows, but because of COVID-19 they meet via Google Meet. More information about GSA can be found here.