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Gunther Schryer

December 1997

"On Campus Living Experiences"

Cast of Characters: Michael......Ex-Boyfriend

College life is exciting for most new students. Gay students have the chance to become more open about their sexuality and start the coming out process. When Christmas arrives, this means vacation time -- meaning, for some, a trip back into the closet.

Back in my closeted days, I hated going home and putting up "the front." When I came out, my parents weren't exactly surprised. I gave them some time and they seem to be slowly coming around. My coming out was a gift to my parents. No longer would I have to lie about the mysterious "girlfriend." Truth is a vital part of any relationship.

As the holiday season roles around, some of you might be thinking about coming out to family and friends. Generally speaking, coming out to your parents will probably be a great relief once completed. Even though parents aren't always supportive, they usually like to know about their child's life. Parents have a vested interest to assure that their child succeeds and is happy.

Over the vacation, I get to take a piece of my Huntington gay life back home with me to New York City. I wonder how my family will react when I bring Michael home. They know that I have dated him. Are they going to handcuff us both to separate beds in different rooms? The dynamics of the situation are quite humorous and I don't know what to make of it. I know my parents will love Michael because he is such a sweet guy.

Coming out is a continual process involving several key steps. Once parents are told, countless others are waiting in line. Just a few months ago, I finally told grandma. I could not believe that I actually told her. Grannie is an old battle-tank who has gone through much in her life so she took the news in stride.

In closing, if you make your "New Years Resolution" to come out to family or friends, make sure that you are prepared, both physically and financially, for any consequences which may occurring as a result. As long as you are prepared the voyage will probably be smoother and more fulfilling.

* * *

On Friday, I received the result of the grievance that I filed based on job hiring discrimination. It was not quite what I had expected. Overall, it took six months to get this letter. Take a quick read of the reaction and I will comment later.

October 28, 1997

Mr. Gunther Schryer
246 Laidley Hall
Marshall University
Huntington, WV 25755

Dear Mr. Schryer:

The Student Grievance Sub-Committee of the Student Conduct and Welfare Committee thanks you for your splendid cooperation in this grievance, and would like to inform you of its decision.

We believe that the evidence presented indicating that you were not hired as a Resident Advisor and/or Resident Director by the Marshall University Residence Services due to discrimination is not warranted. You appear to have been given fair interviews as did other candidates, and we have found no hard facts in our investigations to indicate otherwise.

However, as a committee, we feel that you may have been overlooked in the process, and have recommended to Residence Services that you be considered in the immediate future for an open position. It appears from your references and interactions with our committee that you are qualified to be a reliable and conscientious RA or RD.

In view of the lack of hard evidence of discrimination, we do not recommend a formal apology.

We wish you luck in the future, and would be glad to answer any questions or concerns you may have about our decision.

Sincerely,

Mary Grassell
Student Grievance Sub-Committee

What they are saying is that I am qualified but that I was not discriminated against. OK. Then why wasn't I offered the job? What kind of "hard evidence" did they want me to provide? The letter from Residence Services stating "we discriminate against homosexuals in our department"? Gosh, I guess I should not have hidden that letter (joke). Administrative oversight? Hardly. I applied for the position five times. The letter contains some hope that I may be extended the position during winter break. Guess I will have to wait and see what actually occurs. Within one month, I will find out if the recommendation will be enforced.

* * *

Until next month, have a happy and safe holiday season. Remember, there is a reason for joy around this time of year. We all have something for which we can be thankful. Best wishes!

Peace and Pride
Gunther Schryer
webmaster@gschryer.com
http://www.gschryer.com/


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