Today is National Coming Out Day, an annual awareness day that supports members of the LGBTQ community “coming out of the closet” to declare their sexual and gender identities. It marks the anniversary of the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on Oct. 11, 1987, and was established as an LGBTQ awareness day in 1988.
Last week, Temple University celebrated National Coming Out Week with various events, including Drag Bingo on Oct. 7. The events were held prior to Oct. 11 to increase awareness for National Coming Out Day.
Now that most events for the holiday have already occurred, it’s up to students to continue the celebration in their everyday lives in whatever way they see fit. The Editorial Board encourages students to participate in activities on campus, not just on National Coming Out Day, but every day.
“National Coming Out Day, and National Coming Out Week in general, is super important because queer people should be celebrated all year round, not just the month of June when it’s Pride,” said Jo Zera, a senior media studies and production major. “I’m happy that we got another week of super fun things and global attention.”
Temple Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership often hosts events throughout the school year for students to participate in, like the upcoming Queer Lunch Dialogue at the Student Center in room 200 B on Oct. 26 and online Safe Zone certifications.
Today, Temple’s Ambler Campus is hosting a National Coming Out Day event in the Learning Center Lobby where they will distribute pins and provide students with the chance to post “words of affirmation” to a wall for LGBTQ students.
When possible, students should support the LGBTQ community by donating to organizations that support them, like The Trevor Project, an LGBTQ youth crisis response organization, and The National Center for Transgender Equality, an organization that advocates for transgender rights and policies.
The Human Rights Campaign, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ equality, also has a coming out resource guide for those who are not a part of the community but want to be supportive.
“It’s a great thing to be proud of who you are and just have a supportive environment where all identities coexist, where it doesn’t have to be tense sharing that part of your identity,” said Gabriella Natale, a sophomore media studies and production major.
One of the most important things students can do is consciously contribute to inclusive environments for people of all identities. Students can do this by supporting queer friends and businesses and ensuring they’re not taking up space in environments for queer people when they’re not supposed to, Zera said.
Coming out can be an incredibly emotional process and a difficult decision for many members of the LGBTQ community. The Editorial Board celebrates LGBTQ individuals at all stages of their coming out journey.