WASHINGTON, PA (Oct. 11, 2018)—October 11 is National Coming Out Day in the United States. Here at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), we are proud to support our LGBTQ+ students with resources available through the Office of Diversity and Leadership Initiatives and ways to get involved in the campus community, like the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
To celebrate National Coming Out Day, we asked members of our GSA executive board what National Coming Out Day means to them. Here’s what they had to say:
Alex York (junior, Vice President)
While my family has become accepting of a more diverse range of identities over the years, I’ve had many friends from backgrounds that are completely inhospitable to the LGBTQ+ community. It’s difficult to know that people I care about struggle to conceal their identities on a daily basis, or that they are mistreated by people close to them simply for being themselves. For me, National Coming Out Day is an opportunity to show people in these situations that they are not alone. Individual experiences matter; no two people handle coming out in the exact same way. Yet no matter what your circumstances, this day’s very existence proves that these individual experiences are valid. Even when things seem hopeless, there will always be people out there who accept and celebrate you simply for being you, regardless of whether or not you’re ready to share that identity with the rest of the world. In other words, to me, National Coming Out Day isn’t necessarily about encouraging people to come out — it’s about letting them know there’s a community ready to embrace them if or when they do.
Sarah Dugan (sophomore, Treasurer)
As one of the only open LGBT+ people in my community, National Coming Out Day was a way for me to be reminded that I am not alone. Once a year, I would see people coming out and being proud of who they are, and that gave (and still gives) me plenty of hope for the future where LGBT+ people can be who they are without any worry of how people will react.
Sydney Fischer (sophomore, Secretary)
I think National Coming Out Day is important because it normalizes LGBTQ+ individuals.
Rubi Valenzuela (senior, Social Media Manager)
National Coming Out Day is an important day for the LGBTQ+ community since it provides the opportunity for members to share their experiences and for people who have not come out to come out themselves if they choose to. Having similar stories and experiences as other members provides the opportunity to no longer be scared and be celebrated. National Coming Out Day is important to me since I get to see important people in my life celebrate and share their unique experiences.
Information on the W&J GSA can he found here.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.