Homecoming Out Week will be celebrated with same-sex hand-holding and Storm Watch – the annual Homecoming pep rally and parade.
Coming Out Week, better known as C.O.W., is annually centered around National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, which this year coincides with Homecoming 2002; thus, Homecoming Out Week: Coming Out at Home.
“C.O.W. week allows us to celebrate humanity without focusing on the technicalities,” said Jarrod Stokes, C.O.W. co-director and support group director.
“We want to bridge the gap between gay and straight communities,” said Cate Dundan, co-director of C.O.W. “I would love to see gay and straight students at the same functions.”
The week will kick off with the opening ceremonies next Monday. Dr. Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, will speak.
The executive members of the GLBC will also present GAY 101, an open discussion about being gay, in four different locations in the residence halls.
“GAY 101 is open to anyone with questions that they want answered,” Dundan said
“C.O.W. gives everyone the opportunity to interact with the community of sexual minorities an campus,” said Jose Alvarado, Treasurer.
GAY 101 will take place next Monday at 7 p.m. in Stanford Residential College and at 9 p.m.in Hecht. There will also be two held on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Eaton and also at Mahoney-Pearson at 9 p.m.
Also on Monday, Sophia from MTV Road Rules 10 will present “Sophia Speaks.” She will discuss homophobia and heterophobia as well as many other topics. Sophia Speaks will take place at 5 p.m. in UC ballroom A.
“The week allows us the opportunity to celebrate different aspects of the GLBC community through education and entertainment,” said Chris Vasquez, president of GLBC.
The annual vigil against hatred will take place next Wednesday at 8 p.m. at the Rock. “The vigil is a night for remembering all hate crimes, not just crimes against gays,” Dundan said.
Over 200 students are expected to participate.
President Shalala as well as student leaders from several organizations will speak.
Those who participate in the vigil will receive a free t-shirt.
Same-sex hand-holding day is next Friday. All students are encouraged to hold hands with members of the same sex.
“UF has a same-sex hand-holding day and it’s huge,” Dundan said. “It allows people an opportunity to hold hands without being judged.”
“It provides an opportunity to desegregate and break down social barriers,” Stokes said.
“We want everyone to hold hands, gay or straight,” Dundan added.
The GLBC plans to have a gay formal in November and also plans to sponsor an education week in the spring.
“So many people say they don’t know anyone who is gay,” Dundan said, “but they really just don’t know that they know someone who is.”