LQBTQ students, faculty celebrate Coming Out Week


Courtesy of Genders and Sexualities Alliance

The student Genders and Sexualities Alliance is hosting eight events next week for Coming Out Week.

Ellianna Shields, Reporter

A student club will host in-person events for Coming Out Week Oct. 10-14 for the first time since 2019. 

The Genders and Sexualities Alliance, formerly the Gay-Straight Alliance, will sponsor eight events during the week, including two that are in-person only, three in-person and online, and three online only to discuss issues affecting LGBTQ students and spread awareness of their community with others on campus.

“It’s, like, a way of creating a community because there is a shared trauma, a shared history of trauma, but also, like, a celebration of our identities,” GSA faculty adviser Forrest Caskey said. 

The GSA hosts Coming Out Week every year to celebrate national Coming Out Day on Oct.11. This year’s events will be a mixture of workshops, lectures, a game night and a quilt circle. 

The first event, on Monday, aims to educate faculty and staff about LGBTQ history, culture and community. 

“People all over the country, actually all over the world now, tell their story. Because our stories are all really diverse. So it’s mostly about awareness, disability, and just understanding so that opens the door for, like, education and visibility,” Caskey said. 

Caskey, the interim coordinator of inclusive excellence, will run a faith panel with spiritual leaders, also on Monday. 

“We have a faith-based panel where we have a rabbi and an imam, a priest and some ministers coming … to talk about how you can come from a place of faith to loving LGBT people,” Caskey, an academic literacies professor, said. “I know a lot of people who come from backgrounds that are faith related or are LGBT [and] religious, right, sometimes can struggle with it.”

GSA President Grace Bourne said Coming Out Week is “really important for us to be vocal and let other people know that they aren’t alone. … [Being queer is] not always a very visible identity.”

One event is an in-person community quilt workshop, which is a multi-year art activism project to create hand-made quilt blocks. 

Other events include: “Queer Eye for the STEM Mind,” a coming out panel, a game night and a session called “Does This Make Me Sound Gay?” for example.

Caskey said the week lets LGBTQ students be “loud and vocal …because it’s not like race, where you can look at someone and be like, OK, they look different than me. It’s more invisible. So we have to vocalize it in order for people to realize that we’re here and we’re just regular people who just want to live our lives.