by EMMA GABBERT, CSU Public Relations Assistant
The LGBT center at Minnesota State University, Mankato is hosting it’s annual “coming out of the closet” event in honor of National Coming Out Day, a holiday dedicated to allowing members of the LGBT community a chance to express their true sexuality and/or gender identity. This year marks the 31st anniversary of National Coming Out Day, beginning in 1988. National Coming Out Day is a reference to the common phrase, “hiding in the closet”, which applies to members of the LGBT community concealing their queer identity to fit in with social norms.
The LGBT center is hosting it’s “coming out of the closet” event on Friday, October 11, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Lincoln Lounge, on the main floor of the Centennial Student Union. This gives students, faculty and staff the ability to take pride in their sexuality or gender identity. The LGBT center has partnered with the theater department, who graciously provides a door to give a visual representation of “coming out of the closet”. This door has a rainbow on one side, and a blank canvas on the other. After walking through the door, you are free to add your name and year to announce the day you “came out of the closet” as a member of the LGBT community or as an ally.
“I think it’s always great when you have individuals, who are in leadership positions, who are willing to step forward and be seen as an ally or an out member of the queer community.”David Gardner, The Director of the LGBT Center
In addition to the “coming out of the closet” event, the LGBT center also participates in a “showcase of support”. Started four years ago by the Director of the LGBT Center, David Gardner, the main goal of the showcase is to “create a campus and community environment that says that you are loved and supported if you identify as LGBT.”
“I think it’s important because it gives the chance for the student body to show who they really are in their own skin.”Priscilla Pomeroy, a student at Minnesota State University, Mankato and a member of the LGBT community
National Coming Out Day has been celebrated at Minnesota State University, Mankato for a number of years. It was first introduced by Jessica Flatequal, the former director of Gender and Sexuality programs, who passed away earlier this year. In honor of National Coming Out Day, with weather permitting, the Centennial Student Union will display a rainbow flag upon the university’s flag pole in front of the Centennial Student Union to show the university’s public support of the LGBT community.