National Coming Out Week hosts alumni

LGBTQIA alumni talked about life after Temple in a panel discussion Oct. 15.

Ray Smeriglio (left), Emily Carlin and Halley Balkovic organized the National Coming Out Week panel held Oct. 16 in the Student Center. | Kathryn Stellato TTN

Temple welcomed back LGBTQIA alumni to Main Campus for this year’s National Coming Out Week, and Kate Moriarty was pleased with the progress.

“It’s amazing seeing all this—I’m happy,” said Moriarty, a 2010 alumna in women’s studies. “I never doubted this would happen at Temple though, it’s a great place to be. Temple gave me a life [and] it gave me hope for my future.”

National Coming Out Week, which took place from Oct. 12-16, is an annual celebration that recognizes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual community.

The week consisted of many events for the LGBTQIA community on campus, including the National Coming Out Week Fest, students sharing their coming out stories, the fourth annual drag show and a discussion panel where LGBTQIA alumni talked about life after Temple.

Although many of the events were open to the public, the alumni panel, Oct. 15 in the Underground, was private to maintain a safe space for open discussion.

“There’s not a lot of opportunity anymore for people to talk through issues and things they’re going with,” said Ray Smeriglio, former student body president of Temple Student Government and organizer of NCOW. “There’s not a lot of times where we can come together in a space with people that understand that can really talk through anythin that’s coming up personally or socially, and knowing that it stays in the room.

Moriarty, one of the panelists for the alumni event, was one of the organizers for the first NCOW at Temple when she was the president of the Queer Student Union in 2009.

“It was really hard to put together … we struggled to get people to support us, students and faculty,” Moriarty said. “Its amazing to see how much it’s grown.”

Margo Beckham, a 2014 adult and organizational development alumnus and another panelist, also helped organize NCOW in the past and was the founder of Queer People of Color, an organization on campus.

“I was like, ‘Yes, they finally have something gay here,’” Beckham said. “Even though everyone was really accepting of it, there still was like this whole week I can be gay, I can be myself.”

Gabriel Gonzalez, senior media studies and production major and the current president of Queer People of Color, enjoyed the panel and felt it was a much-needed talk about the future.

“I think they had a good perspective, so it was easy for them to talk about their experiences and be real about things,” Gonzalez said. “It was a necessary conversation and [informed] LGBT students that people are OK when they graduate from college.”

“It shows some positivity, especially for those who are really stressed out right now about their future, and know that they are able to live normal lives.”

Rose Daraz can be reached at

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