cmuOUT, Carnegie Mellon's student organization for gay, lesbian and bisexual concerns, is declaring Wednesday, October 30 Gay Jeans Day. cmuOUT invites everyone in the campus community to wear jeans to show support for gay, lesbian, and bisexual students, faculty, and staff. Colleges across the country have held Gay Jeans Days since the early seventies. Because gays, lesbians and bisexuals are an "invisible" minority, it is often difficult and frightening to "come out" -- to let people know about our sexuality. Gay Jeans Day lets gays, lesbians, and bisexuals know there is a supportive community at CMU.
Jeans are chosen for this event because most people have a pair, and because deciding what to wear causes everyone -- no matter what their sexual orientation -- to think about how other people will react to their choice of clothing. This gives straight people a glimpse of what closeted people go through daily as they worry about how people will respond to their sexuality; too often the response can be one of hatred, violence, and discrimination. cmuOUT hopes that one day, being openly gay, lesbian, or bi will be as comfortable as putting on a pair of jeans. For those who wish to express their support but cannot wear jeans on October 30 for whatever reason, cmuOUT will provide denim ribbons to pin on clothes or backpacks.
People who choose to wear jeans on Gay Jeans Day do so for many reasons. Some know friends, coworkers, or family members who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual. Some wear jeans because they think it is wrong for people to be harassed or discriminated against because they are (or are perceived to be) lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Some wear jeans because they want their closeted friend to feel comfortable enough to come out to them. Finally, gay, lesbian and bisexual people may wear jeans because they are proud to be who they are.
The purpose of Gay Jeans Day is to make people think about what it is like to be gay, lesbian, or bisexual at CMU. Even if only a few brave souls actually wear jeans, the day is a success as long as people think and talk about it! Members of the campus community can join the discussion by posting to cmu.student.out.opinion, or can mail cmuOUT confidentially at out@andrew.