While LGBTQIA members and allies celebrated National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, the Young Conservatives of Texas at Texas State held a “Conservative Coming Out Day” in the Quad, complete with a door frame to symbolize the “coming out” process of publicly disclosing one’s political beliefs.
In an email by YCT member Braden West, the organization encouraged conservative students to “get your picture taken as you come out of the closet and show the world how it feels to be a conservative on a college campus.”
The display created a backlash on social media and arguments in the Quad throughout the duration of YCT’s political demonstration.
Kristoffer Ian Celera, history junior and member of YCT, conceptualized the door demonstration to spark conversation about the struggles of being a conservative on a liberal college campus. Celera identifies as gay.
“In liberal dominated environments, yes, I do believe it is harder to come out as a conservative,” Celera said. “It wasn’t meant to be inflammatory. We actually did have a good deal of conservatives who showed up and found a sense of solidarity within our community. We also had wonderful debates with respectful liberals. It’s just the minority who caused several scenes. We can’t control reactions.”
Emma Brockway, English senior major and communications manager of the Texas Freedom Network, publicly denounced the YCT display on Twitter, calling the demonstration “classless and insulting.”
“The YCT’s display during Coming Out Week was distasteful and insensitive to the LGBTQIA community because it minimized the systemic oppression and emotional trauma that members of the community face on a daily basis,” Brockway said. “Trans women are one of the most at-risk groups in America, and for the Young Conservatives to try to equate the backlash they face to the violence trans people face is disturbing. The YCT said their event was not meant to mock our day, but to compare our struggles and even use our Snapchat geo filter did exactly that. This is the one day of the year that recognizes the LGBTQIA community’s obstacle of having to come out of the closet and the oppression that we face.”