Students celebrate and participate in National Coming Out Day


Photo by Ryan Van Stralen

J Morales (left) and Alicia Silva (right) show their pride.

Students were cheered on by peers and members of the LGBTQA Pride Center as they came out of the closet by walking through a large red door in celebration of National Coming Out Day.

The LGBTQA Pride Center collaborated with the Latin@ Center and Intervarsity to host the National Coming Out Day Celebration at Kellogg Plaza on Oct. 10.

National Coming Out Day, an annual awareness day celebrated on Oct. 11, is meant to encourage those who identify as LGBTQA+ to come out in a safe environment and openly live as they are.

Walking into Kellogg Plaza, the booming sound of popular pride anthems such as Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”, ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” and other pride hits appeared to capture the attention of some students.

After students signed in with the LGBTQA Pride Center, they received two free tickets to pay for the pizza and snow cones served at the event. Each treat cost one ticket.

Once students received their food, they were able to check out the various tables at the event which included members representing the LGBTQA Pride Center, Latin@ Center and Intervarsity.

Ariel Byrd, a CSUSM Alumni and Intervarsity staff member said that Intervarsity, one of the Christian clubs on campus, “just wanted to show support for students to know that God loves them and that there is a space for them to… experience faith and experience God. I thought that coming out day would be a really special opportunity to fully be yourself and just continue that with faith too.”

Many of the tables were also giving out free pride flags, which represented different parts of the LGBTQA+ community. These included the rainbow, bisexual, transsexual, genderfluid, pansexual, asexual, lipstick lesbian and nonbinary flags.

Robert Aiello-Hauser, the Director of Student Engagement & Inclusion, Director of the LGBTQA Pride Center and a lecturer on Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, said “We [the LGBTQA Pride Center] always want to celebrate that [National Coming Out Day], especially as it happens early in the semester and wanna make sure that we’re showing students that maybe are coming to campus and thinking about their identity… that we are here to support all identities, and so I think it’s validating for folks, both seeing all the flags and being able to pick up a flag that matches their identity.”

“For folks to actually go through the motions of coming out by stepping through the door can be very empowering for people and very validating,” said Aiello-Hauser.

Aiello-Hauser said that the red door was a new addition to the National Coming Out Day Celebration this year. The red door came to be after a peer-educator and art major from the LGBTQA Pride Center was able to receive the door and reutilized it for the purpose of the holiday.

“We felt like was a great fit, because… folks feel like they actually are hidden and so there is something about the physical nature of actually stepping through the door, so that it speaks beyond just saying it, that I’m coming out, that I am gay, lesbian, I’m bi, transgender, gender nonconforming, any identities,” said Aiello-Hauser.

Students also had the opportunity to become more informed about the LGBTQA+ community and National Coming Out Day by attending the event.

Rosie Amador, a first-year human development major, said that “I wasn’t sure what it [National Coming Out Day] was, and I wanted to learn more when I saw the colors, because I feel like my perspective on the LGBT community is very limited and the music was playing, the colors were on, so I thought that I might as well check it out and learn a little more about something I didn’t already.”

Amador said LGBTQA+ awareness days such as National Coming Out Day “are important, because not a lot of people understand them in our society today, I feel like it’s still something relatively new and people are afraid just because it doesn’t always happen to have a national day where we can acknowledge those who have come out and have the courage to accept what they are.”

On Nov. 6, the LGBTQA Center will be hosting the Coming Out Monologues in the USU Ballroom from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.