Fishbowl shows growing acceptance of LGBT people


Rickey Layfield, graduate adult and higher education student, discusses the first openly gay NFL footballer, Michael Sam, Wednesday in the Holmes Student Center. Layfield was presenting at Inside the Fishbowl.

By Rhea Riley

Inside the Fishbowl, an LGBTQ Awareness Month event, brought to light the LGBT community’s growing acceptance in music and professional sports.

The event, hosted by the LGBT and Women’s Resource Center, was held Wednesday in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Students Center. Although only one student was in attendance, the presentation and discussion of society’s thoughts on the LGBT community and its role in the hip hop/R&B music industry and professional sports went on.

The fishbowl event required participants to choose colored cotton balls, each representing a variety of circumstances — some representing an individual who was raised in a single-parent or low-income home or an individual who was a first-generation college student — from a fishbowl. Participants then shared what their colored cotton balls represented with the goal of relating to others regardless of their sexuality or background.

Rickey Layfield, graduate adult and higher education student, served as the presenter of the event. Layfield graduated last spring and is now a graduate assistant at Student Support Services.

“I believe sports and hip hop … definitely is a topic that people want to hear about or find interesting. That’s why I picked this topic,” Layfield said.

The music industry’s reaction to rapper and songwriter Frank Ocean’s open letter on Tumblr, which was about his relationship with a man, was highlighted.

Those who participated discussed society’s reaction to gay males in the rap industry and their effect on other rappers and position in the rap game. Chicago rappers Freaky Boiz were discussed as having a reputation as the first gay rap group.

“I thought it would be interesting to me, connecting the hip hop to the LGBT world,” said audience member Brianne Leach, senior family, consumer and nutrition sciences major. “You never know, so I’m never going to judge somebody or think of somebody in a different way, how I look at it your all human.”

Michael Sam, a former University of Missouri football player and NFL prospective, and other male athletes were discussed because of their decision to come out as gay.

“It’s the fact that these conversations need to happen. Homosexuality is something that is whispered about and something people are scared to talk about,” Layfield said. “The world isn’t black and white anymore. There is a lot more color to it now.”