DS View: Acceptance

PRIDE National Coming Out Week not only for the benefit of closeted individuals.

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During UND’s Homecoming celebrations last week, some members of the UND community celebrated another event focused on reflection — National Coming Out Week.

This year was the 25th National Coming Out Week — the 25th year people have stood up and said, “We refuse to be anyone other than who we genuinely are.” The 25th year that people have thrust themselves raw and exposed into a social sphere that so often can be so heartless. The 25th year that we have acknowledged something individuals around the world have been going through for far longer.

This year marks 25 years of new viewpoints, new experiences, new understandings — 25 years of growth.

We, The Dakota Student editorial board, believe you don’t need to be gay to take the time to learn a little more about the lives of a significant portion of the human race.

Just like love — acceptance and understanding are not limited to a certain segment of the population.

And, like love, this national day, week and month, should not be constrained to a certain portion of time.

National Coming Out Week should be so much more than a week-long event; it should be a year-round commitment to open-mindedness, to acceptance, to inclusion and to respect.

The City of Grand Forks took a strong stance on equality and acceptance Monday, passing a law to ban discrimination in rental housing based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The city’s commitment to equal standards in housing is a prime example of the slow march on the road to equality.

In the coming weeks at UND there also will be plenty of opportunities for students to learn about the experiences of their peers, right here on campus.

Thursday, students can attend October’s Coming Out Panel, which will feature voices from members of the UND community speaking about their own experiences.

Friday, individuals can attend an Ally Training from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Leadership Room of the Memorial Union.

Weekly, individuals have the opportunity to attend meetings held by UND’s Ten Percent Society on Mondays at Christus Rex at 7 p.m.

Daily, individuals have the ability to choose acceptance over exclusion, to choose love over hate, to choose freedom over closed doors.

Just like Homecoming, National Coming Out Week is a collective experience — gay, straight or otherwise. It is about open minds and open hearts. It is about acceptance and inclusion. It is about coming out of shells, hidden identities and narrow viewpoints.

It is about everyone coming out.

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