So, I might as well admit it: I’m gay. I couldn’t deny it anyways (note to both gays and straights: iPhone make out photos are still discernible and incriminating). While I can easily admit this now, any LGBT person you talk to can likely describe a long, sometimes painful journey to full acceptance and openness. You face the loss of family and friends, your job, and Mississippi and Jamaica as potential vacation destinations. It can be a horrible process, but also allows you to figure out who you really are and want to be. I like to think I’ve fully completed the straight to gay journey, but I’ve been told my apparel choices still have a long way to go.
This past week was a significant and Totally Super Gay week for the LGBT community, both nationally and at Wharton. October 11 was National Coming Out Day, a date dedicated to giving closeted individuals the courage, support, and resources they need to come out to the world. At the time of writing, no one had come out to me yet, but feel free to do it on one of the other 364 days as well.
There were two different events hosted at Wharton on Thursday: the always popular Rainbow Pub, of course, but even more significant was the inaugural LGBT Prospective Student Visit Day. Eleven students who self-identified as LGBT came to Wharton to learn not only about our academic and professional successes, but also about our diverse and accepting student body and faculty. They spent time with current Out for Business members, heard from Kembrel on what makes Wharton unique and accepting of the LGBT community, and got to experience Rainbow Pub and see our cross-dressing faculty. While the turnout was modest, the inaugural event was a step towards putting Wharton in line with competing business schools that have hosted dedicated LGBT recruiting events for years.
Emily McNabb, Out4Biz Co-President, told the prospective students: “The environment at Wharton is one of complete acceptance. Strangely, it’s almost cooler to be gay here.”
The Wharton Gays can be segmented many different ways (Muscular Gays, Asian Gays, Straight Acting Gays, Really Gay Acting Gays, Kembrel Jones), but what I know that many of us have in common is that we feel completely accepted by Wharton. This is not the case at all business schools, and especially not the case in the workforce – in many states, it’s still legal to be fired for being gay. Coming to school here, I personally didn’t know how this experience would be. After all, we are a diverse group of students, some with strong religious beliefs, military backgrounds, or from conservative countries. But at Wharton, I know I speak for many of us when I say that we feel welcomed and accepted.
Here are just some of the ways we feel the love:
- White Party and Wharton 54 – you party like a gay by drinking ridiculous amounts of Grey Goose and wearing your sluttiest outfit
- Rainbow Pub – there are not many schools where faculty and administration would put on high heels and a feather boa, especially not the Vice Dean
- Girls who like Boys who like Boys party – you ladies literally are our lifeline, and one day we promise to get you boyfriends once we have dated and broken up with at least ten more people
- Will Morel – tight pink shirts and more of a cheerleader for the gays than most gays
- Hottest lesbians you could ever find – I know you’ve haven’t gotten a lot of attention so far, but you really make the gays feel really ugly
Sincere thanks to everyone who makes this school as welcoming and inviting as it is. At Wharton, there are approximately 50 self-identified LGBT students, while Out4Biz has over 400 members. The number of strong allies and the support they provide speaks volumes about the character of this institution. Last week, a large number of students showed their support by adding rainbow flags to their nameplates. Even the Rugby Club, a group you might not anticipate aligning with this cause, e-mailed their membership to encourage them to use the stickers. Wharton students have created an environment that is supportive and inclusive, and will attract the best talent in this country.