Pirate Pride facilitates coming out stories

Students filled the Mind and Hearth, waiting to hear stories from their peers about their experiences coming out as LGBTQ+. Whitworth’s LGBTQ+ club, Pirate Pride, hosted the event on Oct. 11 from 7-8 p.m. to invite students who identify as LGBTQ+ to share their coming out stories. The event began with a brief introduction from sexual diversity advocate Jessica Bondurant. Members of the audience were encouraged to share their stories about being part of the LGBTQ+ community or their experience being an ally. Students were also reminded to be respectful of the individuals sharing their stories and experiences.

As the event progressed, several students shared their stories about coming out as gay, lesbian, queer, transgender or being an ally. During the event, members of Pirate Pride clarified terms that they be unclear to some students in attendance, such as “cisgender.” Cisgender refers to someone who identifies with the gender that was assigned to them at birth, Bondurant said.

Sophomore Madison Artis shared his story about coming out as transgender. Artis grew up in a Mormon household, and had fears about coming out as lesbian to his family before realizing that he was transgender, Artis said. However, his family was very accepting and understanding when he did come out.

It wasn’t until coming to Whitworth that he realized that he identified as male, Artis said.

“I felt that I identified as male but didn’t know what came next,” Artis said.

When he started to make his  transition from female to male, the Whitworth community was very understanding and accepting, Artis said.

“I had the same personality and that doesn't change about a person, despite any changes in how they identify and/or physical changes throughout the transition process,” Artis said.

Sophomore Abbi Bailey attended the event with friends and said these types of events at Whitworth are important because they help broaden people’s perspectives.

“My favorite thing about Whitworth as a whole is that they try to include and accept everyone and they meet them where they’re at,” Bailey said.

Junior Ashley Fitzgerald attended the event to speak about her experience being an ally.

“It’s not right to judge a person based on what they look like or what their sexuality is,” Fitzgerald said.

The event encouraged members of the LGBTQ+ community to share their experiences and allowed members of Whitworth who do not identify as LGBTQ+ to hear stories from those within the community.

“It was so refreshing to hear from so many people who identified as LGBTQ+ and hear their stories,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s something people at Whitworth need to know. I think it’s good for the culture of Whitworth.”

“There were a lot of brave people tonight,” Bailey said.

Pirate Pride meets every Wednesday at 9:30p.m. in the HUB ABC room for anyone interested in joining the club or learning more about the LGBTQ community.

 

Krystiana Morales

Staff Writer

Contact Krystiana Morales at

kmorales17@my.whitworth.edu

Trustees should make efforts to enact LGBT resolution soon

Last year ASWU worked to get a resolution passed that adds sexual orientation to the list of protected identities in the staff and faculty handbook. If you weren’t here or you need a refresher, this would mean faculty and staff could not be fired for their sexual orientation and they would have recourse to protect themselves from harassment as a result of their sexual orientation.

Last year’s editorial board wrote a piece on the resolution prior to its passage last year. We expressed our disbelief at the fact that any enactment of this resolution will likely not take place until almost three years from now.

At the time, we strongly encouraged students to make their voices heard and to pass the resolution. ASWU did an excellent job of informing students, gathering opinions and allowing students’ voices to be heard. They hosted and funded a speaker series, with speakers representing multiple sides of the issue. They also presented students with in-depth survey options in order to reach a collective opinion that truly represented the Whitworth student body.

A survey approving this resolution was passed by last year’s student body with a two-thirds majority, ASWU passed the resolution and it is now in the hands of the Board of Trustees for their consideration before implementation. Seeing as this resolution was present almost a year ago, we are frustrated at the lack of change. Waiting three years to enact this policy means that most of the students who expressed their opinions will have graduated and moved on from Whitworth, but it is something that those students believe in.

We still believe that adding this policy would support the Whitworth mission and we implore the trustees to make more active efforts to enact this change in an expeditious manner.

The students have spoken and believe that this change would make Whitworth a better, more diverse and more inclusive space. It is time for the trustees so listen to student voices and add sexual orientation to the list of protected identities.

 

Editorials in the “In the Loop” section reflect the majority opinion of the Editorial Board, comprised of five editors.