Coming Out Week offers multiple events around campus
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 13:10
National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, has been celebrated on campus before, but this year’s festivities will be different.
“This is the first time we’ve had the resources to do more than one event,” said Vanessa Delgado, LGBT program director at the Multicultural Office for Student Access, Inclusiveness and Community (MOSAIC).
Coming Out Week, beginning today and culminating with National Coming Out Day, is a series of events in which members of the LGBT community on campus encourage each other to be open about their sexual identities.
National Coming Out Day has been a part of the LGBT community since 1987. MOSAIC and the SPECTRUM club on campus have created their own tradition with Coming Out Week.
The purpose of Coming Out Week is to create a place for students of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer sexual identities to find a community and publically affirm their identities.
Samantha Kennedy, the president of SPECTRUM, hopes the program will be a success. “I just hope to continue that [on-campus supportiveness] for National Coming Out Week because it is our first huge event,” she said.
SPECTRUM is the main sponsor for the week and is supported by MOSAIC. SPECTRUM’s mission is to act as “an open-forum on sex, sexuality and gender on campus,” said Deanna Kitchen, the previous SPECTRUM president.
The week starts today with a Safe Zone training session at 7 p.m. in University Center 116. The session aims to educate participants about terms, the coming out process, combating homophobia and becoming part of the growing visible ally population.
On Oct. 9, a Healthy Relationships workshop sponsored by Respect on Campus will be from noon-1 p.m. in the Upper Lodge, and that evening at 6 p.m. in University Center 302 is Buddy Night, a series of coming out stories. The week will conclude on Oct. 11 with the Guess Who’s Gay panel at 7 p.m in University Center 116.
After Coming Out Week, Zach Walls will speak at Cafe ‘65 on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. Walls became famous last year via YouTube when a video of him defending his two moms to the Iowa House of Representatives went viral.
MOSAIC acts as the LGBT resource center and headquarters for diversity on campus, aid for before, during and after Coming Out Week.
Delgado said, “It’s about building awareness and inclusion, showing that we are not alone here, and we are supported here as a community.”
Kitchen encouraged students who are thinking about coming out to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally. “I think the most important thing you can do is a personal inventory: ensure that you’re prepared,” she said.