Students share their ‘coming out’ stories

Corryn Brock, Associate News Editor

Thursday marked the 30th anniversary of National Coming Out Day, a day to commemorate LGBTQ people “coming out,” and EIU Pride celebrated in front of the Doudna Steps.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group, the day is meant to “emphasize the importance of coming out and creating a safe world in which LGBTQ people can live openly as their authentic selves.”

EIU Pride spent a few hours in front of the Doudna steps with a “closet” door painted like a rainbow for students to sign. Several students throughout the day stopped to sign the door with various things like their names, pronouns, and encouraging words for others.

“Mom hugs” were available to students who wanted them regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and is a part of a growing national movement to support LGBTQ people whose parents may not.

Coming out is not always easy for people.

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. The reasons cited for their homelessness included family issues, being forced out of the home and abuse at home among other reasons.

Jessica Ward, coordinator for the Office of Gender and Sexual Diversity, said members of the LGBTQ community never stop coming out.

“Every time I meet someone, they see I have a wedding ring and assume I have a husband,” said Ward. “(National Coming Out Day) is an awesome day, but it’s not just a one-day thing. It’s an all-the-time thing.”

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