For some students, the closet is for more than shoes or clothing. But the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community at CSU wants to make coming out of the closet a little bit easier by celebrating National Coming Out Day.
Hiding is often part of a typical GLBT experience, as coming out can be difficult or emotional. For Gabe Case, the experience was less than ideal.
“When I came out to my parents, my dad was really accepting, but my mom said it was like I had died, that she never knew me,” the Student Organization GLBT member and co-chair of NCOD said on Wednesday during the NCOD events.
Case comes from a Mormon background, and said that he feels discriminated against by his church and some members of his family.
Despite the adversity, Case now says that his familial relationships are getting better, and that his mom now recognizes and accepts the fact that he has a significant other.
The junior interior design major spent the day in two separate drag costumes complete with make-up, a long blonde wig and a short red bob.
“There is a certain freedom when I’m in drag,” Case said. “It’s liberating to be a different person, to step out of my normal character.”
Jessica Weinberg, a junior human development and family studies major and ally, believes that NCOD is important because it makes people aware of what GLBT people have to go through.
Case also participates in the annual drag show, which will be held Nov. 11 in the LSC Commons.
A feeling of community was at the heart of the day, giving allies and GLBT individuals a chance to come together.
“Sometimes they have to hide their true personality because they are afraid of what people will think, and that’s sad,” Weinberg said.
For Valerie Wolfe, a fifth-year senior biology major and GLBTSS student staff member, NCOD has become a yearly tradition, but without a significant other.
“This is the fifth year I’ve participated in NCOD, and it’s the fifth year I’ve participated alone,” Wolfe said. “None of the ladies I’ve dated have ever felt like they could come out, for whatever reason. And that’s fine, but it’s important for people to know that they can come out.
“It takes time (to come out) and you can’t force it. Having NCOD doesn’t mean that we’re trying to pressure everyone to be out or that we expect everyone to come out,” she said. “Just to show that there are people who are out at CSU, and to show people who aren’t that, when they’re ready, there will be a community for them to be a part of, whether they are G, L, B or T.”
Staff writer Hilary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.