Door Represents Obstacles, Freedom for LGBT Community
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA - It can be an instrument of imprisonment or a gateway to freedom.
For a group of students at the University of Florida, a door is symbolic of both.
The Pride Student Union commemorated "National Coming Out Day" with a door display Thursday.
More than 120 students signed the door.
Some signed their name and the date they revealed their sexual orientation.
Others wrote notes of encouragement.
Organizers say the door symbolizes the challenges that gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender people face when they first tell their loved ones.
Shawn Janetzke, event coordinator with Pride Student Union, said he's fortunate because his family and friends were supportive when he came out to them six years ago. Others have very different experiences.
"People coming out for the first time face discrimination from friends, even their own family," Janetzke said. "It's all about the environment that the person who has a different sexual orientation or gender identity is raised in...because that's ultimately what they're gonna have to face once they come out."
A discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday night at Ustler Hall -- titled "Outspoken" -- will encourage attendees to talk about their own coming out stories.
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