UMD to Celebrate National Coming Out Day with a luncheon and more
On April 1, 2001, The Netherlands became the first country to legalize same-sex marriage. From there, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to follow in their footsteps and also legalize same-sex marriage. These historic events were made possible due to the decades of many LGBTQ+ advocates and supporters fighting for equal rights.
After years of fighting for equality, Oct. 11 has become declared as National Coming Out Day to encourage a safe environment and remind LGBTQ+ individuals to live as who they truly are proudly. It was originated in the 1980s when the AIDS epidemic was the biggest hurdle for the LGBTQ+ community.
Roze Brooks, the coordinator for Sexuality and Gender Equity Initiatives, explains why that is.
“There was still significant stigmatizing of gay and lesbian people and were perceived to have this virus that no one really knew about,” Brooks said.
The GLBTQAI Commission is a campus-wide organization comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community members. In celebration of the holiday, the UMD GLBTQAI Commission will be hosting a free luncheon on Friday, Oct. 11 from noon until 1 p.m. in the Kirby Ballroom. Brooks, a member of the commission, explained that it’s much more than just a luncheon.
“Usually it’s just been a student, staff, or faculty speaker at the luncheon but this will be our first year doing the panel model to make it more educational and yes still incorporate personal narratives and perspectives but speak on a call to action and what more tangible actions we can take,” Brooks said.
To coincide with National Coming Out Day, LGBT History Month is celebrated throughout all of October where there will be more events on campus to promote and create awareness for the LGBT community and what others can do to help.
“I think it’d be cool if people thought a bit and move past just how to co-exist and engage interpersonally with queer and trans people and educate themselves more on political and structural work; to figure out where they can tap into ways to improve material conditions,” Brooks said.