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'Coming Out Day' Celebrated In Harvard Yard

* BGLTSA decides to hold celebration two days before national event

Colorful posters, stickers, buttons and a throng of students in front of the Widener steps heralded Coming Out at Harvard Day yesterday.

Although Coming Out Day will be observed nationally tomorrow, The Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered and Supporters Alliance (BGLTSA) observed the event yesterday because of the long weekend, according to BGLTSA co-Chair Andre K. Sulmers '98-'99.

The group used a spectrum of hand-made posters and signs to publicize the event on campus.

The Yard has also been covered with posters for National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day, an event sponsored by the Harvard Law School Society for Law, Life and Religion. The mission of the latter event, which will be held at the law school tomorrow, is to help people "walk away" from homosexuality, according to organizers of the event.

Members of the Society for Law, Life and Religion could not be reached for comment yesterday. Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III said in and interview on Tuesday that since the group is registered at the Law School, it would be more appropriate for them to poster on their own campus. Epps said he has spoken with members of the group.

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Sulmers said he was upset by the National Coming Out of Homosexuality Day event.

"I guess we can expect them to come out on a day when we wish to show our strength," he said.

Sulmers said he was also upset that a number of the posters for Coming Out Day were taken down early.

Harvard Facilities Maintenance Operations (FMO), which is responsible for removing posters, takes them down on Monday and Thursday mornings, and a staffer at the FMO office said it is possible that the posters for Coming Out Day were inadvertently removed yesterday morning by the maintenance crew.

The BGLTSA members designed signs at "creativity day," a poster-making event, according to Sulmers. The posters featured a spectrum of slogans such as: "Homophobia is so passe" and a Guess Jeans symbol with the slogan "Guess who is gay?"

Yesterday afternoon, members of the group tabled in front of Widener Library distributing stickers, buttons and literature to all interested students.

Many students stopped by at the table throughout the day.

David A. Campbell '00, BGLTSA vice-chair, said that the day is actually about more than just coming out.

"[It] shows people we are a visible and welcoming community," he said.

Tomorrow, the BGLTSA and the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Students will co-sponsor a Coming Out Day Convocation at the Divinity School.

A student-led service will begin at 12:15 p.m. in the Andover Chapel. A reception will follow the service.

"It is really important for us to have National Coming Out Day," Campbell said. "It shows freshmen and new students that Harvard is a safe place to be out and a place where we can affirm our sexuality."

"Coming Out Day gives a lot of strength to the people in the closet to see how many proud people there are," said David L. Levy '00, a BGLTSA supporter.

"So even if they're not ready to come out yet, they can see they're not alone," Levy said.CrimsonSarah E. HeinrichsonA SPECIAL DAY: Students gather yesterday in front of Widener Library for Coming Out Day, sponsored by the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered and Supporters Alliance.

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