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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

National Coming Out Day at City College

On October 11 in the Cultural Awareness Center City College Queer straight alliance president Michael Griffin welcomes students and talks about how he came out to his family and the healing connected to it. Photo by || Kimberly Washington|[email protected]

There are days devoted to holidays, the Easter bunny, explosives and celebrations alike. Then there’s National Coming Out Day, a day devoted to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi and transgender) community.

City College celebrated National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 in the Culture Awareness Center where the event was hosted by the QSA (Queer Straight Alliance) club.

According to an article in the New York Times, National Coming Out Day has been a civil awareness day for the past 23 years and is still growing and going strong. The day was founded by a psychologist from New Mexico named Robert Eichberg.

Eichberg’s original ideas of creating an open, safe space allowed today’s students to fill the room with open eyes and ears in support of the LGBT community on City College campus as well.

One by one, students went up to the panel and shared emotional experiences about coming out and their daily struggles, there were approximately 40 students total in attendance.

First on the panel was the QSA club president Michael Griffin, who shared his experiences about being an openly gay male and the reactions he has received not just personally but publicly.

“To be accepting of people who are different from you,” Griffin said to the audience. “That’s the first step.”

There were stories about religion, stories about being proactive and even bullying.

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As students looked on with inspiration and some with tears in their eyes, the room had a safe and open atmosphere, as was intended.

“National Coming Out Day is about the people who are in the LGBT community having the bravery to come out,” said QSA co-adviser and anthropology professor Natascha Storms-Subang. “It’s very hard to come out, especially if you don’t have supportive people in your life.”

Shortly after the student panel, a brief safe space training workshop was held by QSA co-adviser Derrick Wydick. The workshop’s purpose was to educate the campus about fair treatment of the LGBT community on campus.

“There are certain ways to be kind,” Wydick said to the audience. “Crude jokes are not the best way to refer to someone, it’s insensitive.”

The workshop had examples of what not to call someone who is a part of the LGBT community but instead, treat them like a human being.

“Gay people aren’t the weird people you see on TV,” Storms-Subang said. “Gay people are human; they’re your parents, your teachers, your siblings, your grocery clerks.”

National Coming Out Day is nation-wide, it is a day that allows the people who are LGBT to take a stand in the heterosexual community and in their personal lives; giving them a chance to be comfortable in their skin and proud of who they are.

“Love yourself, be kind to yourself,” Griffin said. “And be kind to each other.”

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