National Coming Out Week recognizes importance of diversity

Christa Kelly, Staff Writer

Students celebrated National Coming Out Week throughout the week of Oct. 1. The week’s events were organized by the students in the Queer Pride Alliance (QPA) and Queer Indigenous and People of Color (QIPOC) student organizations.

    Christopher Soto, a queer activist and poet, hosted a poetry reading on campus on Tuesday. Soto, the child of El Salvadoran immigrants, has written two books of poetry and is one of the founders of the Undocupoets Campaign. His organization has been advocating to remove proof of citizenship from the requirements to submit works of writing to literary contests. Soto is currently working on a book of poetry focused on the nation’s epidemic of police violence and mass incarceration.

     Wednesday, the Coming Out Door was revealed to students. Standing in the Christensen lobby Wednesday afternoon, it’s a colorful door that students could sign to symbolize themselves coming out.

    Maeve Doyle, sophomore and one of the leaders of QPA, spoke about the importance of door, saying that it gave people an opportunity to tell others about their identity. She estimates that over a dozen people had signed it in the hour it had been up. Later that night, students gathered to watch anime that featured LGBT+ representation.

    Thursday afternoon, a panel was held where six students shared their coming-out stories with their peers. The panel answered questions to help students reflect on their own coming-out experiences.

    Danny Reinan, a first-year student, explained the significance of having these kinds of conversations. “There are many different ways that coming out can look,” they said. “Understanding that there isn’t a single narrative can help allies to better support those around them who are coming out. It’s important for people even in the LGBT community to support the diversity of experiences within the community.”

    The week concluded with a drag panel on Friday. The event included five drag queens who performed in different sets of outfits. Several of them designed and created their own clothes, and an open mic was available beforehand.

This article first appeared in the Friday, October 12 edition of The Echo.

Photo taken by Christa Kelly. Flags of various LGBTQIA+ organizations hang in Christensen.