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ADA – The East Central University Gay-Straight Alliance will host a special presentation by Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin in recognition of National Coming Out Day, Thursday, October 10 at 7 p.m. in the Estep Multimedia Room, located in the Bill S. Cole University Center, on the ECU campus.

Mary Bishop, a former ECU instructor, and Sharon Baldwin, will speak about their ongoing nine-year lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma. A short student documentary, Fighting for Love: the Struggle for Marriage Equality in Oklahoma, which highlights the plaintiffs in the case, will also be shown.

Bishop is a former assistant professor of journalism in the ECU Department of Mass Communication and is currently an editor with the Tulsa World. Baldwin is also an editor with the Tulsa World.

Bishop and Baldwin, along with another couple, filed a challenge in federal court the day after Oklahoma voters approved a state question defining marriage as between one man and one woman in 2004. The case has languished in the courts, but got a recent boost after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of two marriage equality lawsuits this summer.

National Coming Out Day, or NCOD, first began in 1988 on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights, at which half a million people participated. Wanting a way to celebrate the choice of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to live openly and honestly, psychologist Robert Eichberg and then-head of the National Gay Rights Advocates Jean O’Leary, founded NCOD and chose October 11 as the day of recognition.

Only 18 states participated in the first NCOD. Today, NCOD is observed across the U.S. and Canada, England, Australia, Germany, Switzerland and many more countries with rallies and parades to raise awareness of the LGBT community.

The Gay-Straight Alliance is a student-run organization at ECU, whose goal is to foster equality and provide support for not only the GLBTQ community but the straight community as well. The group is devoted to fighting homophobia and strives to establish equality while maintaining the wonderful diversity that is the human form.


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