1 October 2019
Alex Dant | Travis Boren
It is impossible to tell a person’s sexual identity from their appearance alone. A person must come out in order for others to understand their identity, even though comments are often made to the contrary.
For some, discussing their sexual identity can be difficult and stressful. In order to increase awareness on the topic, the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and MOSAIC are hosting a celebration for National Coming Out Day on Oct. 8.
The resource-fair-like celebration will showcase LGBTQ+ culture and identities according to Jesse Perez, program director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. Perez said that various campus LGBTQ+ organizations will be present at the celebration with food, games, music and activities.
“What we’re doing is providing a space for visibility and awareness,” Perez said.
Philip Oke-Thomas — vice president of the Student Government Association, MOSAIC community outreach coordinator and radio host for UCCS Radio — agreed with Perez’s sentiment when he noted that LGBTQ+ issues can be ignored when visibility is lacking.
“Coming out is a process in of itself,” said Oke-Thomas. “It’s everybody’s own journey, that they have taken or have yet to take or are thinking about taking. I think celebrating that bringing light to that is important to have here on campus to expose other students to the LGBTQ+ community.”
According to Perez, National Coming Out Day is Oct. 11, but the LGBTQ+ Resource Center is celebrating on Oct. 8 because it offered more visibility for the event due to it being a weekday.
Oke-Thomas said that the event was planned with flexibility in mind so that community members can participate as their schedules allow.
“[The event] is more or less coming in, connecting with our outside organizations and organizations that we have on campus,” said Oke-Thomas.
Perez said that the clubs and organizations contribute by setting up tables to promote their clubs and to educate people on community opportunities for LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center will also be there to make students aware of the different resources they have available through UCCS.
Perez said that while the setup for the event resembles a resource fair, at its heart, the event is a celebration and an opportunity for the LGBTQ+ community to stand in solidarity and support for each other. “LGBTQ+ people have not always had the level of acceptance that they do today,” said Perez.
“It’s a day to remember who we are as people,” said Oke-Thomas.
According to an online event description, National Coming Out Day is the anniversary of the second march in Washington D.C. to promote LGBTQ+ rights.
Perez said that National Coming Out Day is a day to celebrate how far the LGBTQ+ community has come in gaining support and equal treatment, and it is also a time to talk about the barriers that have yet to be overcome.
The event will be located in room 116 at the University Center.