LGBC to host events for Coming Out Day

By Jen Bland

In coordination with National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, NIU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Coalition (LGBC) will be sponsoring several events.

Today at 7 p.m. at the Canterbury Episcopal Center on the corner of Lucinda and Normal, there will be a coming-out group. Brian Turkaly, co-president of the LGBC, said the group will give people a chance to discuss issues surrounding coming out of the closet.

“Whether people have just come out of the closet or they’ve been out for a while, this is a way for them to discuss problems, especially with telling friends and family,” Turkaly said.

He said the LGBC has sponsored groups like this before, but this year’s will be a little different. This year everyone will meet first and then break up into groups of gays, lesbians and bisexuals.

“Our last group was over a year ago and 15 to 20 people showed up, but it was mostly male,” Turkaly added. “This year we hope it will appeal to more people.”

At 9 p.m. on Wednesday, there will be a social mixer at University Resources for Women. Turkaly said this mixer is a better opportunity for people to meet and talk.

“At the dances it’s harder for people to meet,” he added. “Here the atmosphere is more relaxed and people aren’t as intimidated.”

A battle of the sexes will take place in the form of a volleyball game on Oct. 10 at the Recreation Center. Turkaly said there are often animosities between lesbians and gays, so hopefully this will ease the tension.

On Oct. 1 there will be a short program called “Workplace” and two panelists addressing the problems of staying out of the closet in society as opposed to the often more accepting college campus. One of the confirmed panelists is an openly gay teacher.

Turkaly said these events are a good first step to coming out, or if people are already out of the closet, it’s good for them to share their experiences and provide support to those considering coming out.

“Especially in the groups it helps people to hear about other’s experiences and get some help deciding when and how to come out,” Turkaly explained. “Coming out is the most powerful thing they can do to change people’s attitudes and it’s often the most difficult.”

Kerri Price, co-president of the LGBC, said the social and informative events are all important.

“They serve as a chance to educate the NIU community and let lesbians, gays and bisexuals know they’re not alone,” she said.

Price said the LGBC hopes to get more women involved this year.

“Whether people have just come out of the closet or they’ve been out for a while this is a way for them to discuss problems especially with telling friends and family.”