Resource offices “Celebrate Difference” with University photo

Kelsey Werkheiser, Special Features Editor

Those passing by the Rooke Science Building on Oct. 14 at 12 p.m. might have caught a glimpse of a rainbow — but not in the sky. 

National Coming Out Day is celebrated annually on Oct. 11 in support of LGBTQ+ individuals “coming out of the closet.” 

In celebration of this holiday, as well as LGBTQ+ history month, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Office of LGBTQ+ Resources organize a collaborative photo to be taken on the Rooke Science Building front steps.

In the days leading up to the event, anyone interested in participating can stop by the LGBTQ+ lounge in the ELC to pick up a shirt that reads “Celebrate Difference.” 

The shirts come in a variety of colors, and this is how the rainbow effect of the photo is made. On the day of the picture, participants line up in rainbow order, based on the color of their shirt. Roughly 300 to 400 people picked up shirts this year. 

Additionally, the ‘i’ in “difference” is in the shape of an upside-down triangle. This symbol was placed on prisoner jackets during the Holocaust to differentiate their prisoners, with the pink triangle identifying LGBTQ+ individuals. This symbol has been reclaimed in modern day LGBTQ+ activism, as a way to acknowledge its history. 

After the photos were taken, participants could enjoy a slice of cake that read, “Happy National Coming Out Day!”

AP Howell ’24, President of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, said they feel the event is “one of the most important events, as it one of the most well-known and well-attended events co-hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Office of LGBTQ+ Resources.”

“On campus, diversity efforts are often centered around race; I say this as a white person who values the importance of all identities on the ‘diversity’ spectrum,” Howell said. “While this event is geared towards LGBTQ+ awareness, the shirts still say ‘Celebrate Difference.’ This means equally representing all differences — race, gender, sexuality, ability, and beyond — on Bucknell’s campus.”

This Bucknell tradition began around 2004, inspired by a similar initiative at Duke University. Overtime, the number of participants in the photo has increased exponentially. 

The original t-shirts read “Difference,” but were later changed to say “Celebrate Difference” around 2013. More recently, there has also been the addition of brown and black t-shirts. These shirts are in response to the Philadelphia Pride Flag, which added a black line and a brown line to the original rainbow flag, in recognition of LGBTQ+ people of color. 

This year’s photo was originally scheduled for Oct. 14– after Fall Break, because National Coming Out Day often falls during the break. The event has rarely been postponed, but Thursday’s weather called for rain. The event was pushed to Friday, and still saw its usual turnout of over 100 participants. After all, you can’t have a rainbow without rain.

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