National Coming Out Day to be celebrated on campus

Corryn Brock, Associate News Editor

The 30th annual National Coming Out Day will be will extend to Eastern’s campus Thursday and will celebrate people in the LGBTQ community coming out.

Coming out is when an individual tells or expresses their sexuality or gender identity to someone.

EIU Pride will be celebrating the day with a “closet” door (signifying coming out of the closet) for students to sign and write their names/pronouns on as well as face painting in front of the Doudna Steps.

Siobhan Doherty, president of EIU Pride and a junior sociology major, said that NCOD is important because a lot of people have experiences with coming out, positive or negative.

“A lot of people either don’t have a great time coming out, or it’s uneventful,” Doherty said.

Doherty said she does not think coming out should have to necessarily be celebrated.

“I don’t think it should be as big of deal because it is becoming a more accepted lifestyle, as some people would say,” Doherty said.

However, she said she understands why having a holiday like NCOD is important to people.

“It is still a big deal and it’s nice to have a day to celebrate those who are able to come out and those who aren’t able to come out,” Doherty said.

Doherty said she thinks people should feel free to decide when or if they are ready to come out and not feel pressured into coming out before they are ready.

“I think everyone should know you don’t have to come out, but if you want to you should,” Doherty said. “Do it at your own pace.”

Coming out can be hard for some people, the people they tell may react negatively. In some cases, children are disowned and kicked out of their homes by guardians for coming out.

According to a study by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than their non-LGBTQ counterparts.

Reasons cited for their homelessness included family issues, being forced out of the home, abuse at home, etc.

Doherty said she has seen both positive and negative outcomes for people who came out.

“I know a lot of (transgender) individuals that come out and feel comfortable expressing their gender identity (who feel like they have) this huge weight lifted off of their shoulders,” Doherty said. “We all have so many things to worry about and (worrying about coming out) shouldn’t have to be one.”

Doherty said her advice for coming out is to pick someone who they think will react positively or even a stranger to get it over with, but every situation is different.

For those who are not financially stable she suggests getting a support system in place just in case.

While tomorrow is a day set aside to celebrate coming out, Doherty said it is important to remember if you are not “out,” “the day is still for you.”

“You’re no less valid for not being out,” Doherty said.

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].