LGBT Resource Center sponsors coming out events

Holly New

So, who are you?

Thursday is National Coming Out Day (NCOD). On Oct. 11, people who may identify as LGBTQ are invited to “come out of the closet” and tell those around them who they really are.

NCOD originates from the March on Washington, D.C., for Lesbian and Gay Rights that took place on Oct. 11, 1987, when over half a million people decided to take a stand for LGBTQ rights. As the movement for LGBTQ rights grew, NCOD was created as a way to celebrate proactively. Here on our lovely campus, we too are celebrating NCOD. The LGBT Resource Center is sponsoring a variety of events to promote and provide support for LGBTQ students, as well as straight Allies.

The first great element about NCOD is it opens the door for LGBTQ students to discover resources in and around campus. To learn more, I spoke with Molly Holmes, director of the LGBT Resource Center.

“National Coming Out Day not only celebrates those coming out, but is an opportunity to find supportive resources,” Holmes said.

She also pointed out that NIU is a great place to start the “coming out” journey because there are so many resources for questioning students including the Resource Center, the Counseling and Student Development Center and the exceptional number of Ally-trained faculty and staff members.

NCOD also gives “straight” or heterosexual people opportunity to learn more about the LGBTQ movement and to become allies. If more people come out to their friends and family, then others can really see how prevalent the number of LGBTQ-identifying people is.

Everyone should take this opportunity to learn more about LGBTQ issues and what it means to be LGBTQ.

Finally, NCOD can simply act as a “practice run” for those not ready to come out. They can use the opportunity to discover resources and supporters to build a network of people to help them through what can be a very difficult process.

Everybody comes out in their own way, and the first step should be to accept yourself. If you aren’t ready to come out, then just become comfortable. Accepting who you are can take time. Use this year to appreciate who you are and how you feel about the prospect of coming out. There are no due dates and there is no pressure.

This Thursday, no matter who you are or what you identify with, come out and celebrate.

Everyone is invited.