Students and community members of all ages gathered on campus Wednesday night together to support the local and national gay communities.
The Queer Grads and Allies group, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual Alliance, the LGBT Caucus and the New River Valley chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays came together to support the “It Gets Better” rally.
About 50 attendees, dressed in purple and rainbow outfits, ranged in age from young children to older adults and included Virginia Tech students of both genders, some of whom brought along four-legged companions, as well.
People across the nation, united through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social networking websites, celebrated a “Spirit Day” today.
During the rally on Tech’s campus, attendees shared stories about coming out and challenges they faced with friends, families and religious groups.
The theme of the evening was “It gets better,” and many speakers, most of whom did not identify themselves, ended their statements with “it does get better.”
“Even if you think it is hard for people accepting you and loving you, it does get better,” one speaker said.
“There’s so much going on that really upsets me,” another speaker said, “But... our support system is really getting better.”
Some spoke about their struggles with gay or lesbian life.
One student, who immigrated from Korea, said he had a hard time growing up gay in a country that doesn’t believe in homosexuality.
“I came to America and I found all these gay people, like a fairy tale come true,” he said.
The rally was also designed to object to the recent suicides of LGBT youth that have taken place over the past few months.
One speaker talked about his previous suicidal thoughts because of his sexual orientation and encouraged the crowd to support their gay friends.
“There is nothing anyone can say if that person cannot find hope,” he said.
Another speaker encouraged the crowd.
“I love you all and I love Virginia Tech, and never let anyone get you down,” she said. “God really does love you.”
Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Spencer was one of the attendees sporting purple.
“I’m a very strong ally,” Spencer said. “I get very concerned about the kinds of things we’re seeing (on other campuses).”