Timothy McKeny, Gay
Assistant Professor, Teacher Education
INVOLVEMENTS AT OU:
Faculty Member in Patton College of Education, SafeZone member, and LGBT advocate.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE OUT?:
When I think about the transformational change that has occurred in our culture toward the LGBTQ community in the past twenty years, I am astounded. This would not have happened without the courageous members of our community who have been out, proud, and fought for rights on our behalf. There is still a long way to go, especially in Appalachia, but being 'out' only increases the visibility and humanity of our community.
WHY ARE YOU PROUD?:
I am proud to be an openly gay faculty member. Too often, LGBTQ students feel that they have to hide part of themselves when working in schools and educational settings. But, for those of us who are 'out,' we are establishing the cultural norm that members of the LGBTQ community are not fringe members of society or "freaks," as we were once considered. We are integral and actively contributing members of our families, communities, and social networks.
WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT COMING OUT?:
Telling parents, family, and those I care the most about was the most difficult part of coming out.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS WHO COME OUT?:
"Just do it! Coming out happens in our own time and our own way. Don't be afraid to be yourself, and don't worry so much about what others will think. You will be much happier once you relieve yourself of the stress and anxiety of 'having to hide.'
THOUGHTS FOR NON-LGBT PEOPLE ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE AND CONCERNS:
For non-LGBT for example: What would you do if your son / daughter, best friend, brother / sister, or parent came to you and told you that he or she is gay? Would your life be the same if you cut this person out of your life? "