For most Queer people, coming out can be nerve-wracking. It has always been a universally complicated topic for those in the LGBTQ+ community to open up about.
On Oct. 11, 1988, Jean O’Leary and Robert Eichberg created National Coming Out Day as a way to bring visibility to Queer people during the ongoing AIDS crisis that the federal government did little to support, leaving 46,134 dead in 1988, according to the Washington Post.
The University’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center was first founded on National Coming Out Day in 2010. Created by students, staff, and faculty, the center has resided on Las Lomas since Oct. 11, 2010 — now six years since its opening.
“Next Wednesday, we are doing our ‘Out and Proud Waffle Breakfast.’ Then we have a mixer with LAMBDA on Thursday, and we also are doing a staff and faculty Happy Hour on Oct. 27 as well,” Frankie Flores, the director of LGBTQ Resource Center, said.
Coming out is an ongoing process, and not a singular event. People can come out all the time, but it might not not always be safe depending on their environment, Flores said.
“Coming out is a very unique process. Whether you come out when you’re 12 or when you’re 91, you come out when it’s right for you,” Flores said.
The center is a space for Queer people to share and have their experiences heard.
“The way we foster that here is we encourage people to share their identities. But we’re never gonna ask you, ‘Where do you reside on the spectrum of queerness?’” Flores said.
Coming out can be life saving for a lot of Queer people. Over 10 years ago, Flores said they had a discussion in a Women’s Studies class. There, a nontraditional student who was married with two kids was asked for the first time ever, “How do you see yourself?”
“She was planning on taking her life … and because of that conversation, she didn’t end her life. She is alive and thriving in this world, and a big part of that was because she was given the space and ability to come out in ways that saved her,” Flores said.
Throughout the month of Oct. the center will have a number of events to celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month, Flores said.
“When you’re ready to come out, we are ready to help whenever we can,” Flores said.
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Kat Gomez is a freelance reporter with the Daily Lobo. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DailyLobo