Sunday, October 12, 2008

Yesterday, National Coming Out Day

Time to think about something beyond the economy.

I wasn't paying attention till National Coming Out Day was being talked about on the Karel Show over KGO Radio in San Francisco.

Jogged my memory.

Back in the 1970s; Coming Out Day goes back that far at least; Western Washington University, here in Bellingham, was scene of an interesting experiment.

Western Front Newspaper had a column about this experiment for counting gay people on campus. It suggested that gay people wear jeans. Then the newspaper staff could count the number of gays by counting the people wearing denim.

Well, just about everyone wore jeans anyway. Gay or straight.

Letters poured into the editor. People said, "what a stupid, unscientific experiment since most folks wear jeans anyway."

Folks that normally wore jeans started desperately looking around in their closets for anything, besides denim to wear. The suite coats their mothers insisted they take to college, but thought they would never wear.

Some folks had nothing but denim to wear. I saw two people with a signs saying "straight" across their backs.

Soon the newspaper did a follow up article.

Experiment was successful. It wasn't intended to be a serious count of the number of gay people on campus. The experiment was really to get people talking. Bring the gay issue out of the closet a bit. See if it made folks uncomfortable. Maybe do a count to see if less jeans were being worn.

My memory of that day may be a bit fuzzy in exact details, but it was a good time and it got people talking. That's what it was about.

Talk it out.

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