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Coming Out Issue 2016

LGBT accepting churches found across Lee County

A harsh reality many LGBT individuals face is coming out with the fear of being rejected by their religious family, church or faith entirely. Since the average age of coming out is now 17, according to a study conducted by the LGBT rights group Stonewall in 2010, many incoming FGCU students have likely recently come out or may be about to. Though each Southwest Florida church differs in its approach, there are some that consider themselves to be “open and affirming,” meaning they fully accept gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender persons. Much like the rest of The Episcopal Church...

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Being out on campus: Brittani Anderson

Junior forensic studies major Brittani Anderson spent 19 years of her life pretending she was straight. After all, growing up in a conservative Christian household, she was taught that having feelings for someone of the same sex meant that you were going to hell. “My whole life I covered my sexuality with dating guys, and it always backfired,” Anderson said. “My friends all knew but I hadn’t come out to my mom yet.” Anderson immediately wanted to stop keeping her sexuality a secret after she met her girlfriend, who she has been with for three years. “She had lived...

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Celebrities in the LGBT community

Colton Haynes The 27-year-old “Teen Wolf” and “Arrow” actor came out on Twitter after a long internet speculation that he was gay. He reported to this positive statement to the Huffington Post: “It took me so long to get to this point, but I’m doing so good,” Haynes said. “I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and healthier than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I care about.”   Keke Palmer Questions of her sexuality arose when her steamy video for her song, “I Don’t Belong To You,” which features scenes with both men and women. “The video was to...

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Being out on campus: Harry Mehri

Junior nursing major Harry Mehri figured out that he was gay when he was about 14. “Everything sort of came out in high school ‘cause that’s when my hormones hit,” he said. “It took me probably like a month of me being like ‘eh, I might be gay.’” Mehri felt like it was the right time to come out after something as simple as a car ride with his mom. “We were driving through Fort Lauderdale, through the gay area, and she was like ‘oh, I have no problem with what people do with their lives’ so when she...

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FGCU’s Coming Out Story

In celebration of National Coming Out Day, FGCU students share their coming out stories and offer advice on accepting your true self. Music: – “Elysian” by Artificial.Music via SoundCloud through Creative Commons. – “Hope (Instrumental Version) 2013” by Tyson Saner via SoundCloud through Creative Commons. Filmed and edited by Cassidy Mace, Katie Hopkins and Travis Brown. For more National Coming Out Day coverage from Eagle News, click...

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From Estero to New York City: Grayson Golden’s story

Grayson Golden, a 20-year-old former FGCU student, has made his way to the Big Apple, and come face-to-face with the very people who’ve inspired him, while making artwork that’s gained celebrity status along the way. Golden attended FGCU when he was just 16 years old, participating in the Accelerated Collegiate Program. The idea of never stepping foot into a high school again was enough to sway him, and get him over the discomfort of being a college freshman with a mouthful of braces. Despite feeling a bit intellectually out of his league, he was thrilled about everything he was...

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Being out on campus: Matthew Peterson

Sophomore accounting major Matthew Peterson, who grew up in a conservative household, first came out as gay to two close friends while he was a freshman in high school. “They were both throwing low-key hints from months before that they could trust me and be there for me if I had anything to tell them,” Peterson said. Peterson decided that, with the support of his friends, he could begin a new phase of his life. “I was at the stage of my life where I could think for myself and not believe everything my parents did,” he said. “So...

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Breaking the binary: gender fluid beauty and style

Gender fluidity is an identity people use to indicate their gender expression and is just one of much identification that people can choose from. “The takeaway is that only you know who you were born to be, and you need to be free to be that person,” said Ruby Rose, a gender-fluid celebrity who has given people the courage to come out and truly be themselves. In her interview with Huffington Post, Rose brings visibility to her form of gender identification and empowers others who identify the same way. Gender-fluid fashion is all about expression – depending on how...

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Alliance for the Arts hosts the SWFL Pride Festival in Fort Myers

Three colorfully-dressed men with painted faces and rainbow flag-capes, laughed together after a beautiful transvestite took the stage to lip sing to P!nk’s “Funhouse.” DJ Madmel and B103.9 provided the music for contestants who lip sang for money that would go toward the SWFL Pride parade. The parking lot of the parade was completely filled with guests who had to park on the street just to attend. People all over Lee and Collier counties were invited to come out and show their colors in support for the LBGT community on Oct. 8 at the Alliance for the Arts in...

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Cisgender actors continue to portray transgender characters

It’s time the transgender community is represented in Hollywood. Two years ago, in May 2014, Time magazine turned heads with a groundbreaking cover that featured actress Laverne Cox with the headline “The Transgender Tipping Point” to highlight the new era of inclusion in Hollywood. The cover came 10 months after Cox’s breakout role as Sophia Burset on Netflix’s hit  series “Orange Is The New Black.” This was just the start. The power of entertainment media can be amazing. Just one outstanding performance by a charismatic and talented actress accelerated change across an entire culture. Since then, trans people have...

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