National Coming Out Day
National Coming Out Day, October 11th, is a day that celebrates the anniversary of the Gay and Lesbian Right March on Washington D.C. of 1987. Now, 30 years later, we commemorate the fight that those before us were brave enough to fight for LGBTQ+ rights, and we continue to acknowledge those that are brave to be who they truly are, and to support those who haven't come out yet by showing pride and hope.
"Coming out" is the process and journey in which someone comes to be who they are as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, whether that be as gay, bisexual, trans, or even as a straight ally. This does not look the same to every person as everyone's experiences are different when they are coming out. Not everyone is in a safe and comfortable place to come out when they want to. It's important to know, though, that they will not be going through it alone, and that will have people to turn to for support. Establishing and maintaining a community is essential for coming out — past, present, and future.
Having a community where LGBTQ+ voices can be heard at Bay State was an essential reason for creating The Bulldog Pride, Bay State's Premiere LGBTQ+ Student Organization. The Bulldog Pride creates a space for students to be heard, to talk about current issues, and to plan events to promote LGBTQ+ awareness on campus. In preparation for our National Coming Out Day event on October 11th, I asked two members of The Bulldog Pride to answer some questions about coming out. Here are their answers:
- What does coming out mean to you?
Student 1- "To me, 'coming out' means not living a lie. It is not about putting my sexuality in other people's faces; it's more about being comfortable with myself while navigating this hetero-normative world. People who lay on the straighter end of the spectrum do not have to 'come out' because they blend in. Even if someone is not straight, people may assume they are because they cooperate with the hetero-normative lifestyle, and some queer folk take advantage of that. Being out for me means deviating from the norm, living in your truth with courage and pride despite status quo."
Student 2- "There's a lyric from my favorite song, 'Heaven' by Troye Sivan that says, 'The truth runs wild.' That's what coming out means to me—living my truth unapologetically and fearlessly."
- What is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is not "out" yet?
Student 1- "You shouldn't have to live in a world where you have to out yourself; it should be normalized. My advice to those people is to find a close friend or family member that you trust and start with them. Everyone's lives are different so there is no one piece of advice I can give except to make sure you are in a safe space or find a safe space to do so."
Student 2- "Make sure you are safe when you decide to come out. If you are expecting a negative response from you main source of support, make sure you have others to fall back on if needed. And always remember there is no right or wrong time, and only you know when you're ready to come out!"
Coming out can be a very influential part of someone's life. If you or someone you know is in the process, there are many resources, like Fenway Health or Boston PFLAG, that people can turn to. Above all, it is important to be supportive and accepting of yourself and others. It is bold to do something against the norm, and that is what National Coming Out Day celebrates.
If you are interested in joining The Bulldog Pride, or would like more information regarding LGBTQ+ resources, please contact Student Affairs Graduate Assistant Zach Tripsas at email@example.com.