A balloon-rainbow arch swayed in the central Quad on Thursday, welcoming students to participate in interactive arts and crafts activities for a National Coming Out Day celebration, hosted by Cal State Fullerton’s LGBT Queer Resource Center.
“(To me) this event means celebrating queerness and celebrating the milestones and progress that the LGBTQ community has made over the years,” said Isaiah Acevedo, a student leader at the LGBT Queer Resource Center.
Albert Xiong, a graduate assistant of the LGBT Queer Resource Center, said he hoped the afternoon event would provide visibility and a sense of community for LGBTQ students and let them know the resource center was available in helping them.
Janice Orozco, a freshman English major, passed by the event with Kris Delrio, a student from Orange High School, and created a self-flower in one of the activities, which depicted the different parts of Orozco’s personality.
“I felt like it was a really nice event because it made me feel included in the community,” Orozco said. “It’s OK to be ourselves and I know that people aren’t going to accept it all the time, but just surround yourself with those who do accept you and you’ll be fine,” Orozco said.
Participants could receive a goody bag once they collected signatures from each of the four tables at the event. In addition to the arts and crafts, there were also two community resource tables, OC Accept and the LGBT Center Orange County.
Marco Ramirez, a therapist of OC Accept, said their program focuses on case management and mental health services for people in the LGBTQ community.
National Coming Out Day celebrates the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which was the nation’s second demonstration to occur on the basis of LGBTQ rights.
The march led to the creation of foundations such as the National Latino/a Gay & Lesbian Organization and AT&T’s LEAGUE, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ civil rights organization.
“National Coming Out Day is for you, not for anyone else. So coming out at any capacity that you would like, in a way that affirms you — anyway that you want to come out — is valid,” Xiong said.
In addition to the event that occurred in the central Quad, CSUF celebrated National Coming Out Day with a panel discussion and an LGBTQ history month reception in the evening.
President Fram Virjee spoke at The Golleher Alumni House about the eminent “rainbow wave” that is to come from the LGBTQ community.
Students shared their testimonies and talked about what it means to come out as well as the stigmas behind National Coming Out Day itself.
“From having so many beautiful events today, we can see the campus growing and expanding National Coming Out Day,” said Chris Datiles, coordinator for the LGBT Queer Resource Center.
Virjee encouraged members of CSUF to empower the LGBTQ community and advocate for allyship.
“As the largest and most accessible vehicle to higher education in this state, it’s on us. The faculty, the staff, the students at Cal State Fullerton to continue coming out as proud LGBTQ community … and to continue to build our university’s LGBTQ legacy,” Virjee said.