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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Greek Allies hosts Coming Out While Greek

A panel of LGBT people and allies spoke.

Oct. 12, 2013

Greek Allies, the group uniting Greek Life and the LGBT community, hosted Coming Out While Greek on Thursday evening as part of Coming Out Week.

The event consisted of a panel of people talking about being Greek and being LGBT. Some members of the panel were LGBT and some were allies.

Junior Shane Stinson, a transgender man, said he wanted to speak at the event in order to show what it is like being an ally to the Greek community as opposed to being an Greek ally to the LGBT community.

"There are a lot of negative stereotypes of the Greek and LGBTQ community,” Stinson said. “Coming here and seeing that both can work together provides a better sense of an overall community for our campus. Greek individuals testify to the incredible brother or sisterhood they have and how it helps shape their college experience. It's important for LGBTQ individuals to know this is available for them too.”

The event consisted of people on the panel answering questions about what it is like to come out to the Greek community, if they’ve ever been met with negativity and why people are afraid to come out.

Junior Luke Blackburn, a member of Beta Theta Pi, talked about how the event was important for breaking down stereotypes.

“There are huge stereotypes for Greek life to everyone who’s not Greek,” he said. “Events like this break down the stereotype and unite the campus and shows how people can be shaped through Greek life.”

A rather large crowd turned out for the event, filling up the Women’s Center. Freshman Katie Akin, a new member of Chi Omega, said that the turnout exemplified One Mizzou.

“When I came for Summer Welcome this year, and they talked about One Mizzou, I really just thought that it was a diplomatic thing that the administration came up with. After tonight, I know that it’s a real thing,” Akin said.

After the directors of Greek Allies were finished asking questions, they opened it up to the crowd. People asked questions about how to properly use pronouns, how to be a good ally and how to respond to a vocal minority.

When responding to question about the vocal minority, junior Christiana Marvray, one of the members of the panel, responded with tears. She had experienced ignorance in the past, and she remarked how she just wanted to help educate people so that no one would have to experience the kind of ignorance that she had.

“Three words sum up what I want people to walk away with after this: inclusivity, acceptance and education,” Blackburn said.

Stinson said there is a stigma that people will not accept LGBT people.

“What you should take away from this event is that there is this community and there are these people who are trying to create a safe place for every MU Tiger on this campus,” Stinson said.

Akin said the event made her feel great.

“I just feel so happy after this,” she said. “It was a great day, and I feel so supported by the rest of the Greek community.”

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