‘It doesn’t matter who you love’

Meredith Harris

Corey Dean said he was “culture shocked” when he came to USI’s campus because there are many accepting people here.

The freshman biology major came from a “hick county” – Gibson County, Ind. – where his high school “was in the middle of a cornfield.”

“We have the people up there that like to do … ‘fag drags’ and things like that,” Dean said. “So, they’re the ones that put anybody down for anything different. They would make homosexuals or anybody that identified differently go back into their closet and, basically, become straight. Or attempt to become straight.”

A “fag drag” is when homosexuals are dragged down a gravel road behind a truck, Dean said.

Dean was one of the students who organized Day of Silence on USI’s campus. Day of Silence is a day when those in the LGBT community who have lost their lives due to bullying and harassment are mourned.

Day of Silence, normally a day-long event, will last for two days at Prism’s event Breaking the Silence.

“Because we’re all members of the human race,” Dean said. “No one should be segregated, no one should be discriminated against, no one should have to face hater abuse because of who they love. It doesn’t matter who you love. We’re just all a part of the human race.”

Dean contacted freshman Julisa Gendren, who planned Breaking the Silence.

“I identify pansexual,” Gendren said. “Most people don’t even know what pansexual is. Not even kidding you. I’ve had people send me like pictures of like a girl hugging a pan like, ‘Oh, you’re pansexual.’ No, that’s not what it means.”

Pansexual is when someone can be attracted to any gender, Gendren said.

Another fear that LGBTs have is what will happen when they come out to family and friends, said Rick Boysen, junior history education major.

“I only recently came out to my father … I’ve yet to come out to any other person in my family,” Boysen said. “And it’s terrifying. And that is one of the ways that … people are silenced is that … we end up being too scared of what other people will think or do, especially people that are close to us. We can’t truly be ourselves around them.”

Safety is another concern for those who come out to their families.

“I would love to take my boyfriend home for Thanksgiving or Fourth of July or something, but I can’t without fear that not only will I be ostracized from my family, but that my boyfriend will be attacked,” Boysen said.

A candlelight vigil will be held at 6 p.m. Friday on the Quad to mourn those who have lost their lives due to harassment and bullying.

Following the candlelight vigil, there will be Breaking the Silence, an open mic night, in Carter Hall.

Breaking the Silence might have a guest speaker as well, Gendren said.