Equality Ride at OBU: Day Two

Equality Ride at OBU: Day One

Wednesday night had been fantastic, as the Riders rolled into town to a rousing welcome at Church of the Open Arms. I was moved by their stories of religious abuse, and was excited about a dream coming true. OBU was giving attention to homosexuality and dialoguing about it.

This morning I awoke to snow. Beautiful snow. The drive out to Shawnee was great. The campus was lovely. I got there an hour early to get coffee, look around a bit, and pray.

Not long after I arrived, I ran into Marty O'Gwynn, who was handling everything with the Riders, and Bobby Canty, who is now the Dean of Students. I'd seen Marty on Wednesday night. I had a good conversation with each of them. They told me that the group was going to allowed in the GC bottom floor all day to interact with students. He was hoping that was acceptable to the Riders. I was amazed. I had dressed in long underwear and layers of clothes, expecting to be outside. I couldn't believe this was happening; never would have happened ten years ago.

The fabulous Equality Ride bus pulled up at 10 a.m. I was waiting for them in our class of '96 Gazebo. Marty asked me to show the Riders the way in.

And until 4 p.m. this afternoon the GC was full of openly GLBT young people and straight allies who were engaging in conversation with OBU students, staff, faculty, administration, and the press. There were two requirements that I think were too much. OBU allowed in LOTS of press, but didn't allow Soulforce to film or take pictures. And they wouldn't let them hand out pamphlets. They could talk for hours with students, but couldn't pass anything out. Had they allowed that, I think the Riders would have had hardly anything to grumble about.

All the people who I knew who came by were warm and pleasant. I got lots of hugs and handshakes. I had a great day.

There were no incidents. There were lots of great conversations. Many students took business cards, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. It was most interesting to watch the kids that I felt were gay. Some of them hovered around the edges, listening in. There are even a few openly gay students who were working with the Riders.

As I left, Bobby Canty asked me to come back and talk with him about what it was like when I was a student. He asked thoughtful, interested questions. He seemed genuine in wanting to know what it was like for gay students at OBU. I plan to follow upon this soon and hope to take other students stories with me. Marty O'Gwynn thanked me for being there and helping to dialogue between the school and the Riders at a couple of points.

In my wildest dreams as a student, this never would have happened. I really did want to cry at the end of the day.

[Tomorrow there will be a rally with speeches at 1 p.m. at Lion's Club Park.]


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Wow, that's huge.


Even five years ago, this wouldn't have happened. I am impressed with OBU. I love Mr. Canty. He is truly a geniune person. I am glad your day was good.


I am so excited by what is happening at OBU this week! Thanks for keeping us updated. It's such a marked contrast to the controversy surrounding OBU Pride when I was a student... almost makes me wish that I were still there to witness the changes. Good luck today with the rally!


When I came back to visit the campus about 10 years ago -- I was stunned! I had never seen so many closeted students on any single campus. But then, with a church (voice) music program, we shouldn't be surprised. It's too bad that the school isn't willing to survey its students: I think they might be stunned to find out the high %. One gay alumnus said that on her athletic team, 85% were lesbians. Another said 30% of his students in his dorm wing have turned out to be gay! (I wonder how many of the rest are closeted...like me!)

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