LAMBDA celebrates, honors Coming Out Day

Coming out is a process many LGBTQ people go through as they start to accept their sexuality or gender identity and begin to openly share it with others, according to Planned Parenthood. 

For many, coming out is not easy. The process can cause challenges such as not being accepted by friends and family, being thrown out of their house, and harassment, according to Skidmore College. 

According to ABC News, Coming Out Day is a day to recognize LGBTQ people who struggle for equal rights. Coming Out Day is observed each year on Oct. 11, making this its 33rd anniversary. For the past 15 years, the Human Rights Campaign has come up with a theme, and this year’s theme was “Born to Shine.” 

To shine a light on Coming Out Day, LAMBDA hosted an event that brought the LGBTQ community and allies together to show support for those struggling to coming out. 

At the event, students were encouraged to sign a banner to honor Coming Out Day. 

Emily Tran, the secretary of LAMBDA, said even just having students sign a banner can have major impacts on LGBTQ people. 

“Something as simple as signing a banner shows that you support people who have to come out,” Tran said. “In general, hearing successful coming out stories helps people who are not out feel safer about coming out [because it shows that] the LGBTQ community is so much bigger and more inclusive than most people realize.”

While students were signing the banner, they learned about the significance of Coming Out Day. 

According to Destanae Mosby, a psychology graduate student, Coming Out Day was inspired by the Lesbian and Gay March on Oct. 11, 1987.

“This march gained a lot of attention and inspired many individuals to come out as part of the LGBTQ community and embrace their identity,” Mosby said. 

This march was in response to the rising AIDS pandemic and a landmark decision made by the Supreme Court in the case of Bowers v. Hardwick, which criminalized oral and anal sex between consenting adults of the same sex in private spaces, according to the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. 

Tran said that a year later Coming Out Day became official “in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary, gay and lesbian rights activists” in response to the march. 

Mosby said Coming Out Day should be celebrated by students every year because it is an essential part of the LGBTQ community and its history. 

“I think Coming Out Day is important and should be celebrated because it is such an essential experience in an LGBTQ individual’s life,” Mosby said. “Coming out, whether that be to yourself or others around you, is more than just a label to most, it’s the opportunity to live authentically.”