For some, it reflects the hardest day of their lives. For others, it illustrates a right to be themselves.
At CSU and campuses around the country today is National Coming Out Day. The day serves as not only a welcome into the GLBT community but also a way to reflect on past experiences.
“You can’t bring someone ‘out of the closet,’ so we’re here to welcome them in and share our experiences,” said sophomore art major Cortney Paddock. “We want to show them it’s OK and is not an abnormality.”
NCOD has become not just a holiday for gays and lesbians but has expanded to include bisexuals and transgendered and supporters of the GLBT community.
“It is a day for allies and members within the GLBT community for them to come together and appreciate each other,” said Paddock, a GLBT Student Services member.
Allies, as defined by Gabe Case, a junior interior design major, are “supporters of GLBT issues” and play a vital role in the GLBT community as friends and confidants and a support system.
“It is necessary to have the comfort level to come out,” Case said.
Case, who is also a co-chair of the Student Organization for GLBT, hopes to turn the Plaza into that comfort zone, but for it to also be an open forum area for GLBT students or allies to go to today.
Students will not only have a chance to tell their coming out stories but also to play games, like “Guess the Gay.”
But Case stressed that today is not just for members of GLBT community or allies – it is for the whole student body. Case said he really wants to see is the audience getting involved and taking an interest.
“Things like education, awareness and social events always have an opportunity and chance to change lives,” said Foula Dimopoulos, director of GLBTSS. “It makes you feel not so alone.”
NCOD has become a way for members of the GLBT community to share their stories, help others or come out.
“It is a necessary holiday to celebrate,” said Valerie Wolfe, a senior biology major and a staff member of GLBTSS. “It signifies so much to so many different people.”
For Wolfe, NCOD signifies the struggle she and other students must go through in being a “student” and “GLBT.”
“There is a NCOD because every other day is heterosexual,” she said. “Until we are at a point where we don’t have to ‘come out’ and proclaim (our) sexuality; that is when we won’t need a day for us.
“It is a great reminder that coming out is a continual process, and it’s not just one day; every day is a coming out day.”
Staff writer Valerie Hisam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedule of Events for CSU National Coming Out Day
On the Lory Student Center Plaza:
10 a.m. – GUESS THE GAY
11 a.m. – LAMBDA CENTER GUEST SPEAKER: MARIA MONTANO
Noon – COMING OUT STORIES/SPEAKERS BUREAU
1 p.m. – THE QUEER DATING GAME, LSC Room 203-205
5 to 6 p.m. – Movie