Penn State Abington recognizes National Coming Out Month

Penn State Abington recognized National Coming Out Month in October by inviting internationally known gay rights advocate Brian Sims to speak with students about LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) issues. Sims, who visited the Abington campus on Oct. 8, entertained and educated the audience with his quick wit and self-deprecating humor about coming out in 2000 during his senior year at Bloomsburg University while he was the captain of Bloomsburg's nationally-ranked Division II football team. Sims remains the only openly gay college football captain in NCAA history.

Talking to the almost all-student audience, Sims relayed many statistics about the 18-30 year old demographic. "Your generation, regardless of your politics and regardless of your general ideology overwhelmingly support gay adoption, LGBT civil rights, inheritance rights, nondiscrimination, and hate crimes bills … for the most part, young Americans are extremely pro-gay. The most interesting statistic of all is that your generation doesn't know this."

Sims, stressing the importance of the ally issue -- straight people supportive of gay rights -- drove home the point of talking about LGBT issues.

"The more people talk about LGBT issues, the more aware, educated, tolerant, and accepting people become. Talk about it. By doing that alone, you're doing more for LGBT rights than I do in a week."

Sims, who was very appreciative of the opportunity to speak with the Abington students, said, "I'm very excited that Penn State Abington asked me to come speak. It says a lot about the school. It (Penn State Abington) trusts its students and athletes to invite someone like me to talk about stuff like this. It's not very common."