Minnesota State University, Mankato’s LGBT Center celebrated the nation’s 31st National Coming Out Day as a way to create a safe space for students during a difficult political climate Oct. 11.
National Coming Out Day was first observed 31 years ago on the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. It was celebrated as a reminder to the LGBTQ community about the power of coming out.
The Human Rights campaign wants everyone to know, coming out still matters. On their site they state, “When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other.”
The Supreme Court is currently working with three cases asking whether it is legal to fire workers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These cases can be a threat to the LGBTQ community as they are exploring whether “sex discrimination” applies to sexual orientation as “sex”, at the time it was written, doesn’t refer to sexual orientation or gender identity.
PJ Gurung, a student at MNSU, thinks it’s important now as ever, especially in the current political climate, to have people who are out and proud in today’s society.
She said, “We’re here. We exist. And we deserve the same basic human rights as any cis-straight person out there.”
Currently, only 22 states prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, while 21 prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.
National Coming Out Day is not only important in a political sense but also a personal one as the Trevor Project reported having at least one accepting adult in the lives of LGBTQ youth reduced the chance of suicide by 40%.
They also found that over 1.8 million LGBTQ youth ages 13-24 considered suicide each year.
The LGBT Center at MNSU wants to combat this and create a safe space for students to come out and be themselves.
Katie Farmer, a Graduate Assistant at the LGBT Center, said, “National Coming Out Day creates a safe space for everyone to have a reason to come out, so that way it’s not all on you, it’s like here’s your chance, you can do it now, and we’ll accept you.”
The LGBT Center celebrated the national day with their annual coming out door as students were given the chance to make a sign expressing their identity and come out to the world, themselves, or someone they know.
Pricilla Pomeroy found comfort at the LGBT Center when she came out as pansexual to herself and others when first discovering the label after talking to the center’s director, David Gardner.
She said, “There’s a safe spot on campus to come out, the LGBT center is really safe, and if you ever consider coming out you can go to David Gardner. He always has questions or answers.”
The school has many different student organizations for LGBTQ students to find a safe space and community such as Black Legendary and Queer (BLAQ) or Sexuality and Gender Equality (SAGE).
The university is even having a Queer Prom on Nov. 9 for students to join together, celebrate, and be as queer as they want.
Header photo: Minnesota State University, Mankato students pose for a photo at the “Coming Out Door” at the National Coming Out Day celebration in the Lincoln Lounge Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in Mankato, Minn. (Jack Linell/MSU Reporter)