National Coming Out Day: FMU’s GLBTSA advocates equality and acceptance for all

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Photo by: Hannah Maltry

National Coming Out Day participants write what they are coming out as on colorful sheets of paper that were displayed on peg boards on Friday, Oct. 14 by the fountain.

Rachel Baggett, Staff Writer

Dozens of sheets of brightly colored paper decorated several large peg boards outside of Founders Hall as Francis Marion University students came out for National Coming Out Day (NCOD) on Friday, Oct. 14.

“National Coming Out Day is a national, maybe even international event, that occurs annually, and organizations all across the country sponsor events for it,” Associate Professor of Health Education Dr. Janis McWayne said.

At FMU, NCOD was sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight Alliance (GLBTSA).

The GLBTSA invited students to write what they were coming out as on a sheet of paper and post it on one of the four peg boards set up on the lawn behind FH. ­­

The event, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., was open to all students regardless of their sexual preference.

While NCOD is typically used for people to come out about their sexuality, the GLBTSA encouraged students to come out as whatever they wanted.

Many of the messages on the board still kept with the sexuality theme, such as “I’m coming out as a lesbian” and “I’m coming out as a fabulous gay man.”

Some of the other messages were personal goals: “I’m coming out as an overall better person,” and “I’m coming out happy.” Others related to school: “I’m coming out as a proud theater major,” and “I’m coming out as a sociology student.” There were also many light-hearted and humorous messages, such as “I’m coming out as a ninja” or “I’m coming out as a straight-up gangsta.”

After posting their coming out message, students could enjoy a hot dog, a variety of different colored drinks and music.

The GLBTSA also had information from the Human Rights Campaign about coming out or being supportive of the GLBT community and a binder of some of the 400 coming out messages from last year’s NCOD event for the students to look at.

McWayne said she hopes that by having events on campus where students can come and talk about their sexuality will help these students feel safe about being on campus and feel safe about being themselves.

“I’m hoping that through exposure and awareness, other organizations and other students will begin to see … that we all have different preferences, different ideas, different sexualities and different norms, but that we are all human beings … and that we should be allowed to be ourselves,” McWayne said.

Students who are interested in learning more or joining GLBTSA can attend one of their weekly meetings that are held every Thursday at 6 p.m. in LNB 137.