Though a lot of progress has been made in the LGBT rights movement, sports journalist LZ Granderson said there’s still work to be done.
Granderson, an openly gay journalist and commentator for CNN and ESPN, talked to an intimate crowd in Heritage Hall on Tuesday about his coming out experience and discussed many issues the LGBT community is facing.
Head football coach Bill O’Brien introduced Granderson, saying he was honored to do so. O’Brien said it’s great when people like Granderson go to college campuses and share their views.
“I’m a big believer in inclusion and a hater of discrimination,” O’Brien said.
Granderson said that one of the most important groups that will shape the future of the fight for LGBT rights is allies.
Without the help of allies, other equality movements, like the push for women’s rights, would not have succeeded without men, and the fight for LGBT equality isn’t any different, he said.
“We’ve seen that it’s not always pretty for allies, but you’ve got to have peace and faith knowing that you’re fighting for something you know in your heart is right,” he said.
He said he understands that it may take people some time to be comfortable standing up against someone making slurs against gay people, but until someone is comfortable being vocal about it, he asks them at least not to participate in the discrimination.
“I don’t have a problem if someone tells me they don’t feel comfortable saying something right now, that’s fine,” he said. “Just don’t laugh.”
But once an ally starts to become more comfortable standing up to people making discriminating comments, Granderson said he encourages that person to say something and keep saying something until he or she feels they are being heard.
Penn State’s Athletic Integrity Officer Julie Del Giorno said she thought it was important to hear Granderson talk about the importance of respectful discourse.
She said she agreed with his point that just because someone has a different opinion than what you believe, that doesn’t make him or her a bad person.
Granderson also said it’s important for members of the LGBT community to be comfortable with themselves as well to help the movement go in the right direction.
Granderson said he struggled with who he was for many years, but has now come to terms with who he is.
“If you have peace with yourself then you can help others reach that peace with you,” he said.
Mindy Szkaradnik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (814) 865-1828. Follow her on Twitter at @mszkarad.