ASU comes out, in style

Like many others, psychology freshman Ashleigh Mills donned a T-shirt reading, “Born This Way.”

Underneath the text, a line was printed for the wearer to write whatever they felt belonged. Mills wrote, “Human.”

“People always get judged,” Mills said. “Everyone needs to realize that everyone is human and everyone is the same.”

Mills attended the “Born This Way — Dance for Diversity” event held Tuesday night at the Barrett Palm Court on the Tempe campus. PAB, RHA and LGBTQA Coalition sponsored the event.

Casey Clowes, co-director of LGBTQA Coalition, said they hoped the T-shirts like the one worn by Mills would “encourage students to embrace any part of their identity they choose and give students a chance to break down stereotypes and stigmas, especially about underrepresented populations, mental health status and ability levels.”

“It is an honor to be partnering with three unique organizations here at ASU,” said Faryal Mustaq, PAB special events intern and political science and psychology sophomore. “We not only aim to create an essence of unity between the ASU residence halls but to also help showcase plus appreciate diversity that exists within the ASU community.”

The event was held to celebrate National Coming Out Day, a national awareness day meant to be a safe time for anyone to express themselves as an individual and embrace their sexual orientation. National Coming Out Day is celebrated each year on Oct. 11. The date was chosen in honor of the Oct. 11, 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

At the dance, there was free food, T-shirts, giveaways and, of course, dancing.

Nearly everyone was dancing to the popular hits played over the speakers while multi-colored lights danced across the courtyard.

There was even a dance-off to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).” Many attendees said it was a safe venue for anyone who came to express him or herself and have fun.

Math freshman Enrique Quinones said events like these help people who have not yet come to terms with their sexual orientation.

“It helps them feel less alone and gives them courage,” Quinones said.

Family and human development senior Rachel Allen, director of programming for RHA, said the event held more significance than just giving individuals a safe place to come to terms with their sexual orientation.

“It’s really good to show the community that (the event) is not just about coming out with your sexual orientation, but who you are as a person,” Allen said.

The tagline for the evening, lyrics from Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” summed up the event’s message: “I’m on the right track baby / I was born this way.”


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