Students celebrate National Coming Out Day with open discussion

Hannah Sheridan

The LGBTQ Student Center brought students together to have an open discussion on their personal experiences with being an LGBTQ member in celebration of National Coming Out Day (NCOD) on Oct. 11.

NCOD, founded on Oct. 11, 1988, marks the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, according to George Mason University.

Since then, members of the LGBTQ community and allies celebrate NCOD with various types of events, rallies and speak-outs aimed to prove to the public that LGBTQ people exist everywhere.

“I feel like it’s a great time for anybody who didn’t have a previous time where they felt comfortable coming out before,” Louis Roseberry, a freshman exploratory major, said. “They can all use this time to come out to themselves or other people because they feel comfortable letting other people know.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, one out of two Americans have someone close to them who are gay or lesbian. One in ten Americans are close with someone who is transgender.

“If someone comes out to you, take it seriously,” Paje Jordan, a junior horticulture technology major, said. “Don’t laugh at them.”

The LGBTQ Student Center is a safe space for students and allies. The staff educates the campus community about sexual orientation and gender identity to ensure that Kent State University remains a safe space for all students.

“I really do feel comfortable on campus. There are a bunch of people here who accept me for who I am and try to understand how to use correct pronouns, even if I look a certain way,” Roseberry said.

“If you are not part of the LGBTQ community, there is always room to be an ally, even if you don’t identify,” Kay Moskala, a freshman studio arts major, said. “All I ask is for respect. Respect my pronouns, respect other people’s pronouns, respect what people are even if they’re still questioning it.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, by April 2017, more than 130 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in 30 states. Transgender rights took severe hits, including President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.   

“At the end of the day, we are all human beings. We respect you — we would only hope you respect us back,” Moskala said.

“For the people who have not come out yet, this is the day that you can tell yourself ‘hey it’s okay that I’m me.’ Never be ashamed of who you are, what you feel inside, who you love. At the end of the day, it’s your basic human right to be yourself,” Moskala said.

Hannah Sheridan is the women’s and LGBTQ issues reporter. Contact her at [email protected].