National Coming Out Day, HIV testing to provide resources for LGBT community, students

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October 3, 2015

Lily Spencer

lspencer@uccs.edu

     This year marks the 29th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, which is meant to stand as a positive celebration of sexual identities.

     To commemorate the event, Spectrum will host National Coming Out Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 11 in UC 116. Following this, the club will also host an HIV testing day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 13 in UC 303.

    National Coming Out Day will be a celebration of LGBT culture and will introduce students to LGBT resources and organizations on campus.

    Jesse Perez, program director of the LGBT Resource Center, says that the events are a great way to showcase resources available to the LGBT community.

    “Depending on students’ experiences, they may have not been exposed to different resources in the community as far as LGBTQ support goes,” he says. “Some students go out and seek that, but this is our opportunity to bring that to campus.”

    The LGBTQ Resource center will also provide free HIV testing in partnership with the Southern Colorado AIDS project (SCAP). UCCS and SCAP provide this service to students once a semester on campus. SCAP also provides free testing to the community at all times.

    Senior mathematics major Kate Polham, an MOSAIC intern, believes it is important to raise awareness on testing and sexual health on campus and beyond through testing days.

    “Our community should be concerned about sexual health because it is one of those things where it is not just affecting one or two individuals; it is a group thing and can hurt the community,” she says.

     Students, faculty, staff and the community are all welcome to get tested for free on Oct. 13. No appointments are necessary.

    Munoz hopes the free testing event will spark a larger conversation on sexual health.

    “We really want to start a conversation around sexual health, spreading education, awareness and providing access to free testing and the type of healthcare communities need the most,” she says.   

    Jazmin Munoz, education outreach coordinator for MOSAIC, highlights the significance of holding an event like this on campus.

    “This is an important event that we have to raise awareness on campus to get students to take their sexual health seriously and start getting tested,” she says.   

     Students outside the LGBT community are encouraged to attend the event as well, says Perez.

     “It would be a great event for allies, because they can come and see resources available so they are more informed and can share that with others,” he says.

    Alongside Spectrum, Respect on Campus will provide students with information on healthy relationships at National Coming Out Day.

    “If schools do talk about healthy dating and relationships it tends to be focused [on the straight community],” he says. “Where do LGBTQ students get that information?”

    Both events seek to fulfill an educational purpose that will be beneficial with connecting people inside and outside UCCS, according to Perez.

     “Connecting with the outside community is sometimes difficult,” Perez says.

    “This provides a space for students to get this information on campus so they know what is out there and what is available to them.”

    For more information on National Coming Out Day or HIV testing, visit uccs.edu/~mosaic.

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