16 October 2018
This year marks the 30th National Coming Out Day in the U.S. The October 11 holiday celebrates and encourages a safe environment for LGBTQ+ men and women to outwardly announce their sexuality to their friends, families and communities.
The LGTBQ+ advocacy group inside out youths defines coming out as a person’s self-disclosure of sexual orientation or gender identity.
National Coming Out Day originated in the late 1980s when sexual inequality seemed to result in a lack of medical research on the AIDS epidemic, as it especially affected the LGBTQ+ community. It was meant to prompt research by spreading awareness and acceptance.
Today, National Coming Out Day is still celebrated in hopes to combat homophobia and advocate for acceptance and equality. This year, UCCS took part in the holiday by holding an event that promotes diversity and inclusivity.
The event offered UCCS LGBTQ+ resources, a time for coming out stories, on campus support information and community reflection.
Freshman sociology major, Brett Kendall, acted as a representative for MOSAIC and explained their part in the event as “We are here to promote on campus community and solidarity to students.” The MOSAIC booth at the event was mainly informational and included information on UCCS LGBTQ+ resources.
Psychology major Reina Gonzales fronted a booth that focused on detailing support groups on campus specified for LGBTQ+ students with varying backgrounds. For example, the booth had information on groups for queer identifying students who are also non-traditional, veterans or racially diverse. “Having a group on campus that they can relate to can definitely help students remember that they are not alone,” said Gonzales.
The Wellness Center was also present during the event support students in making healthy life choices. Specifically, the peer education program from within the wellness center had their own booth at the event. “We support students in healthy life decisions when it comes to sex, drugs, alcohol and body image,” said program assistant Kimberly Humphrey, “We also help students find counselors and other support outlets.”
The fairly new group, Staff and Faculty Pride, were also in attendance. Staff and faculty pride is a group that offers their resources and support to not only LGBTQ+ students, but also staff and faculty. “We support each other, and that can be a very powerful thing,” said group member and staff representative Claire Ami.
Other notable participants in the National Coming Out Day celebration included the UCCS library and the Parents, Family, and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG).
As the event continued, participants celebrated with rainbow themed food and décor and also played LGBTQ+ themed games.
All in all, the event acted as an outlet to invite all community members into further understanding and accepting the LGBTQ+ community. Educational resources about MOSAIC and the LGBTQ+ community can be found in the MOSAIC office or on their website.