By Priscilla Galarza
On Oct 11, the nation and this college will recognize the day dedicated to the Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender community: National Coming Out Day.
The celebration observes and brings to light the difficult process of “coming out.”
Coming out is a term for members of the LGBT community meaning to let their sexual preference be known to the public.
This college is planning events to contribute to the purpose of the holiday, to encourage students to be proud of who they are and to show they have the support of the community.
Mark Bigelow, assistant coordinator of student leadership and activities in the office of student life, said of the college’s Coming Out Week, “This event has changed lives in a different way. It is purposeful in the sense that it sets in motion a new attitude and perspective on coming out.”
Although the concept of the LGBT community is slowly becoming more and more accepted, acceptance is not universal.
With a major event like Coming Out Week attracting attention at this college, there is a chance of negative attention.
Bigelow said he has been pleasantly surprised to see such a positive reaction from the community.
“It was encouraging how many straight allies showed up and participated,” he said.
This year’s festivities include a full week of events starting with National Coming Out Day Oct. 11 and a community fair offering education and support.
This annual event began in 1988 when psychologist Robert Eichberg and an openly gay politician, Jean O’Leary, declared Oct 11 as the National Coming Out Day because it marked the anniversary of the 1987 national march on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights.
This event has moved from being recognized nationally to global acceptance.
It is now being celebrated in at least nine other countries — including Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.