Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Students celebrate National Coming Out Day

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Illinois Springfield are showing their support for members of the LGBTQ community.

A National Coming Out Day celebration was held on the UIS quad on October 11. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning participants used a door on stage to literally “come out of the closet.” They shared their stories about how they came out to their families and problems they’ve encountered.

“The symbol of the door is we’re fighting for equal rights,” said William Kipp, junior Liberal Studies major.

National Coming Out Day was started in 1987 as a day to support gay rights and support each other.

“I feel very, very passionately about equal rights for gays and lesbians and people of various sexual orientations,” said Kari Bedford, senior Communication major.

Kipp had a parent who worked at Brookens Library on the UIS campus. He grew up without the support of his family and the campus, but now feels things have changed.

“Since they’ve opened up Founders Hall and Lincoln Residence Hall and all the new townhouses and brought a larger population onto the campus it’s become open and more friendly,” he said.

The university recently hired its first LGBTQ Resource Office Director and students agree progress is being made.

“It’s a good environment. I feel like there’s a lot happening on campus. It’s a very active campus with the gay and lesbian community,” said Bedford.

National Coming Out activities continue through Friday, October 15th on the UIS campus. Visit the LGBTQ Resource Office for a complete list of events.

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