Allies helps maintain an accepting and safe environment at Shepherd University.

Allies: Gay-Straight Alliance Events

As acceptance for the LGBTQ+ community continues to grow, Shepherd University allows students to feel welcomed and safe to express who they are through organizations such as Allies.

There are a few events that Allies will be hosting throughout the year.

“There will be a Coming Out Week held on the week of Oct. 11th,” said Blair Cherelstein, a senior mass communications major and vice president of Allies. “We are trying to plan a few events throughout that week such as a makeshift closet where people can leave what they feel insecure about in the closet and come out,” Cherelstein said.

Dates haven’t been set, but students can look forward to other events in the near future. “There is also going to be a Coming Out Panel where the Nursing Program sends students to come to the panel. Four or five people on the panel share their coming out stories so nurses can develop a better understanding for their patients,” Cherelstein said. “We also plan on doing a Coming Out Monologue, which are just dramatic readings of peoples coming out story.”

Although the LGBTQ+ community is becoming more accepted, there is still a lot to be done. Many people are still scrutinized for being who they are or they feel uncomfortable with themselves.

“A lot of the students that I’ve worked with come from a very homophobic household,” Buck Burker, a sophomore chemistry major and member of Allies said. “Allies and these events provide a place where they don’t have to worry about the stigma and the blacklash.” Burker added, “We try to keep it as safe as possible.”

Ciara Hall, a senior elementary education major, said organizations like Allies can help change lives.

“Kids these days are getting bullied and shunned for their sexuality,” Hall said. “Organizations that can help young people realize that they aren’t alone are so important.”

Chace Jones is a staff writer for The Picket. He can be reached at

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