GLBTSA to host Coming Out event

Rachel Baggett, Staff Writer

Francis Marion University’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight Alliance (GLBTSA) will host their annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD) event on Thursday, Oct. 18 on the Founders Hall lawn.

Lindsay Jackson, the president of the GLBTSA and a junior majoring in theatre design, said that the GLBTSA hosts a NCOD event every year to reach out to gay and lesbian students who did not know about LGBT organizations.

“I think it’s a positive thing to have on campus for those students,” Jackson said. “I think it gives them support and it shows them that we are here and we’re here to help you.”

For the event, the GLBTSA will have a table set up where students can anonymously write down what they are coming out as and then post their coming out statement on one of several peg boards. The coming out statements are not limited to just sexuality; students can come out as whatever they want whether it be serious or silly.

Afterwards, students can enjoy free hot dogs and a glass of one of the flavors of rainbow Kool-Aid.

Jackson said that the GLBTSA are using the coming out peg boards at the NCOD event again this year to keep with tradition and because it shows NCOD can be celebrated by straight students as well.

“National Coming Out Day is not just about coming out as gay,” Jackson said. “We’ve had people come out as a strong-willed individual and other things like that.”

NCOD is a nationally recognized event that is celebrated by LGBT alliances and individuals across the country every year on October 11. According to the Human Rights Campaign website, the event was created as a day for LGBT awareness and the celebration of coming out. They selected the date in October because on that day in 1987, 500,000 people marched in Washington D.C. in support of lesbian and gay rights.

Lisa Stuchell, the faculty advisor for GLBTSA and a professor of English, said she hopes the students would use the event not only as a way to experience and broadcast their own identities, but also to learn about the gay and lesbian communities.

“There needs to be awareness,” Stuchell said. “These students aren’t any different than any other students and people need to understand that no one is different and we should celebrate people’s individuality.”