Center encourages openess and looks to overcome social assumptions
National Coming Out Day opened the closet doors for several students on campus on its annual Oct. 11th date.
Each year, this autumn day allows for members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to openly express their sexual orientation and gender identity.
“(National Coming Out Day) is a time for folks to think about coming out to people they haven’t to yet,” said Stephanie Wilenchek, director of the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Resource Center.
The GLBT Resource Center hosted a series of events throughout the evening, starting with a book reading from Professor Eugene Hayworth and ending with an open microphone session, where students were allowed to express their own experiences.
“(National Coming Out Day) provides more visibility for the GLBT community,” Wilenchek said, “It brings about awareness for the challenge and the celebration of coming out.”
Although National Coming Out Day is intended to bring about knowledge and acceptance, the actual process of coming out is not always so easy.
Craig Overholser, a senior psychology major and the outreach coordinator for the GLBT Resource Center, said he felt that the main fear an individual has when identifying as GLBT is being judged.
“(The fear) is the uncertainty of how people are going to react to you, how your parents are going to react to you, how your friends are going to react to you,” Overholser said.
Wilenchek said she believes that the hardest part of being an open member of the GLBT community is defying the societal assumption that everyone is heterosexual and constantly identifying as GLBT.
“Coming out is a life long process,” Wilenchek said, “You are always coming out to people.”
In addition to GLBT students coming out, Wilenchek said she also encourages allies to identify themselves as allies.
“The more allies there are, the more likely people who are GLBT will feel comfortable in coming out,” Wilencheck said.
Charlotte Siska, a senior biochemistry major, said that it is society in general that makes it hard for someone to be open with sexual orientation and gender identity.
“You’re affirming something that is against what everyone expects,” Siska explained
The CU campus offers a variety of resources for students who identify as GLBT, are questioning their sexuality or are just even allies. In addition to the GLBT resource center, on-campus living offers Spectrum a floor in Hallet and is specifically for GLBT students who want a safe and comfortable dorm experience.
Contact Campus Press Staff Write Sara Fossum at firstname.lastname@example.org
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