For many, college is a time of self-expression and an opportunity for exposure to diversity. Coming Out Week celebrates both of these experiences and more through a series of events and programs held across campus. The festivities occur annually and are sponsored by a variety of MU organizations advocating for diversity and inclusion. This year, the celebration took place from Monday, Oct. 14 to Friday, Oct. 18.
To kick off the week, the LGBTQ Resource Center hosted a cupcake social from noon to 2 p.m. on Monday in the MU Student Center. Students were encouraged to stop by for a treat and to find out about events happening later in the week. Coming Out Cupcakes both drummed up excitement and highlighted the goals of Coming Out Week.
“I think Coming Out Week is important because it’s good to celebrate what is, for a lot of people, a really hard thing to do but a really important thing to do,” junior Hannah France said.
The next few days included events including an open discussion about asexuality, the annual Pride Photo at the MU Columns and a showing of the film “Happy Birthday, Marsha!” followed by a discussion. Students of all identities were even invited to show their pride at a photo booth with props set up in the student center.
On Wednesday, an Open Safe Space Training aimed to equip students and faculty with the knowledge to be effective allies to the LGBTQ community. The first part of the training focused on learning LGBTQ-inclusive terminology, and the second half centered around putting the new information to use in ways that make others feel safe and accepted.
“It was a lot of information I did not know before,” freshman Tobias Davis said. “I did actually learn a lot about the different pronouns and stuff to use.”
The LGBTQ Resource Center hosted a lunch where several transgender and non-binary students shared their coming out experiences on Thursday. Later in the afternoon, the RSVP Center presented information about violence in LGBTQ relationships, which is an often overlooked issue.
Coming Out Week wrapped up on Friday with two final events. The Queer Liberation Front put on a presentation about lesbian history, particularly during the 1920s. In the Women’s Center, those attending got a look into the increasing social prevalence of lesbianism around the world in that decade.
“They really embraced themselves and they didn’t really care what other people thought,” sophomore Rachael Bagnell said.
Finally, a night of LGBTQ trivia open to all marked the end of Coming Out Week on campus. Players could compete solo or play as teams, and prizes were offered to winners. Games ran from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Shack and questions focused on the past in honor of LGBT History Month.
All of the festivities offered throughout the week brought together the LGBTQ community and those working to be better allies to them. The week was just one of the ways MU works to foster an inclusive atmosphere on campus.
Edited by Janae McKenzie | email@example.com