It’s great to be gay at Penn, according to Newsweek, the publication that recently ranked Penn as the most gay-friendly college in the United States.
This year, Penn has seen a record number of active lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students. Approximately 75 students signed up to join the Lambda Alliance and over 150 people attended the Queer Student Alliance’s welcome-back event, “The Gay Affair,” LGBT Center Director Bob Schoenberg said.
He said the Newsweek ranking is a reflection of the fact that “all the stars have aligned at Penn this year.”
More freshmen and upperclassmen are also coming out at the beginning of the school year than ever before, according to Chairman of the Lambda Alliance and Wharton and Engineering junior Tyler Ernst.
Although the exact number is difficult to quantify because not all openly LGBT members participate in LGBT activities, College junior Victor Galli estimates four to five times the number of people who have come out at the start of previous years have come out at the start of the semester.
“It’s a sign that Penn is explicitly gay-friendly,” said Ernst, who attributes this trend to a “very proactive” team of upperclassmen who fostered an environment where “it is cool not just to come out, but to be active in the LGBT community. ”This is true for many students. A college freshman from South Carolina, who wished to remain anonymous because he is not openly gay at home, said he was “counting the days” until he could come out at Penn.
“It’s a very, very liberating experience, especially when you come from a community that is not accepting,” he said. “I came out to my roommate on the first night, and it was totally chill.”
Editor’s Note: You can read the full article at the Daily Pennsylvanian.