Villanova celebrates Coming Out week

Oscar Chicas

You might have been aware that the week of Villanova’s fall break was also national Coming Out Week across the country.

During that week, people who have come out in the past celebrate their past experiences, and those considering it are encouraged to come to one of life’s hardest decisions, and those who aren’t considering it are invited to contemplate further on what coming out means to them.

Since the University was on break, Villanova’s Gay-Straight Coalition celebrated the week after the break as Coming Out Week. As part of the celebration, Villanova’s own Coming Out Quilt was prominently displayed just inside the entrance of Dougherty Hall.

The Quilt functions as a mirror image to the “Day of Silence” celebrated in the spring semester, when supporters wear all black and choose not to speak for a day, in solidarity with those who are rendered silent in their community.

In that same spirit, the documentary, “JimInBold” was presented to students on the evening of Oct. 19. The film follows two storylines.

The first is the story of James Wheeler, from whom the documentary gets its name. Wheeler was a nineteen-year-old man from Lebanon, PA, who took his own life, having never arrived at the proper moment to come out, even to his loving family and closest friends.

James Wheeler felt forced to hide his true self from the world, including his family, who so clearly loved him. It shocked his family to have found his immense collection of his own poetry, only after his tragic death. That shock was nothing compared to finding out he was gay.

The second storyline is about the group, Young Gay America, comprised of four homosexual students, who take a cross-country strip starting in Vancouver and concluding at their home in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Along the way, they stop in various towns of nearly every region of the country to interview other homosexual students who have contacted them through their website.

At one stop in Texas, they interview an energetic young woman whose family had been greatly supportive of her coming out, even in light of the fact that her friends and schoolmates had shunned her.

At another stop, in Wilmington, Del., they met up with a particularly vocal young man whose lyrical talents with a microphone worked well to break the typical stereotype of a young homosexual man.

After stopping in south Jersey to visit a spirited gay-straight alliance at a high school, the group continued by making the trip to Lebanon, Pa., home of the Wheeler Family, whose son James inspired the four young men of Young Gay America.

During a tear-filled interview with other homosexuals of Lebanon accompanied by the mother of James Wheeler, those present were comforted by the realization that no one is, or should be, alone in the journey of coming out.

Most importantly, if someone finds it necessary to take that journey, they shouldn’t be scared to do so. They concluded that in fact, it might be worse to not take the journey and hide who one really is from the world.