By Laura Aviles, Staff Writer
The pins started to pass from hand to hand throughout the classroom. The message they displayed: “Supporter,” together with the hashtag #ComingOutDay. It was October 11th, the day on which this tradition is celebrated.
This particular day commemorates the coming out of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and asexual (LGBTQA) individuals, as well as their allies. Joe Jaeger, president of the club Thunderbird Reaching Out (TBRO) said: “There is a unique position regarding coming out. Some people choose to tell others and many choose not to do it mainly because they are afraid of being rejected.” He continued, “The reason for the pins is to show that if someone is struggling with this they can know that there are people here who support them.”
The pins were followed by a form to be signed which carried the following statement:
- To respect all people’s privacy with regards to gender identity/sexual orientation
- To support any person who chooses to disclose their gender identity/sexual orientation to me
- To understand that coming out is a matter of trust, and should never be discussed with outside parties without permission.
More than 100 people signed the pledge between students, faculty, and staff. These are the three basic rules for every T-Bird who embraces diversity, inclusion, and support for the LGBTQA community. Celebrating this day matters because it represents the embracing of equality, and highlights the bravery which coming out requires. Joe re-started the TBRO club of LGBTQA with the support of more than 20 T-Bird members. He said that, for now, most of them are allies (meaning straight and supportive of equality). People, despite their own personal orientation, can feel welcome. He added, “I just wanted to show that Thunderbird is a really nice place where people will support you.”
One of the foundational TBRO objectives was to participate in the Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Conference, the annual gathering of LGBTQA graduate business school students. ROMBA is a non-profit organization, originally launched as a conference to provide LGBTQA business school students with resources to make connections with other LGBTQA students and business professionals. The conference includes workshops, networking events, and panelists from all sectors of the business community. It addresses social justice issues of equality at work and aims to help attendees emerge stronger and more confident in the business world. More information is available here.
There is already a list of schools and clubs affiliated with ROMBA, but Thunderbird was not yet registered, so it was necessary for the students to apply this year. In total, there were six students who got the chance through TBRO to apply and participate in this conference, which took place in Dallas during the weekend of October 6-8. “We are making efforts to increase participation and membership. If we get these, we would become the first fully affiliated ROMBA organization in Arizona” said Joe.
Rocky Horror Picture Show – Movie night at campus
Place to be confirmed.
If you want to become a member of TBRO, or would like more information about activities, please contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org