Sexual orientation discussion to make WU more inclusive community

Photo by Tea Franco 
O'Neale Atkinson from Time Out YouthPhoto by Tea Franco O'Neale Atkinson from Time Out Youth

Wednesday night was the first installment of a three night series of talks dedicated to making Winthrop a more inclusive community. The talk of the night was on sexual orientation.

The talk started with a skit from Skin Deep, an improv organization on campus. The skit portrayed the struggles of children coming out as gay to their friends and family. It showed signs of unsupportive parents and confused friends.

After the skit, the Director of Youth Programs at Time Out Youth based in Charlotte, O’Neale Atkinson, spoke to the students. He started by asking the audience questions about when they first heard anything about the gay community and whether or not they had negative feelings towards them.

“If we want to be an advocate for a community, then we have to be aware of our feelings, apprehensions, and fears,” said Atkinson.

He then went on to define some common words in the LGBTQ community: lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, questioning, asexual and pansexual. After he was finished, he opened up the floor to questions from the students.

The next speaker was Dr. Scot Rademaker, faculty advisor of GLobal. He explained why he initially became an advocate for the LGBTQ community and talked about microaggressions, explaining what they are and how they negatively affect people who are coming to terms with being a part of the LGBTQ community.

To wrap the talk up, there was a panel of students from the LGBTQ community who explained their coming out stories and their experiences at Winthrop in relation to being a part of this community.

The second installment will take place on October 5 and will be about intersectionality. The third and final installment will be on November 15 and that topic of discussion will be transgender.

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