IDEAL Holds Town Hall for National Coming Out Week

BY JAYA MONTAGUE

The Institutional Diversity, Equality, Advocacy, and Leadership (IDEAL) office held a town hall discussion in the Howard Gittis Student Center, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.

The conversation featured a panel to speak about the cross between people of color and the LBGTQIA+ community in Philadelphia.

Panelists included Amber Hikes, the Executive Director of the Office of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia, Francisco Cortes, the Youth Programs Manager at Galaei, Ashley Archer, the Assistant Director of Residential Living at Drexel University, and Sharron Cooks, the former Vice-President of Equality Pennsylvania.

Issues discussed included the backlash that the Office of LGBT Affairs received for unveiling the new rainbow flag at City Hall. The revamped flag features brown and black shades to represent minorities in the gay community.

Syed Sultana, a finance major and attendee, says that she came to the event in support of gay friends that she knows personally.

“I mean it’s 2017, everyone kind of knows but I feel like a lot of people still won’t accept it yet,” Sultana said.

The talk was one of the events for Temple’s National Coming Out Week. The week, started by Andrew Dies and Nu’Rodney Prad, is to bring awareness to National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, and is in its 11th year on campus.

Siobhan Skeritt, a former Temple Residence Hall Director and attendee, showed up to support her old co-workers and the efforts of the university to become more inclusive.

“These town halls are bringing people on campus and off-campus to talk about what the pressing and systematic issues are,” Skeritt said.

Members of the audience asked questions through the #NCOW hashtag on Twitter or wrote them down on a piece of paper.

Other events for the week incorporated a drag show and Queer Bingo.