On National Coming Out Day, which is Oct. 11, CSUN’s Pride Center welcomed students to share their coming out stories at the Express Yourself Variety Show.
An “Express Yourself” room was provided which featured a timeline of major historical events within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. Students were also encouraged to write motivational messages “Be Proud to Be You” to be displayed on the wall for all to see.
National Coming Out Day is an internationally observed day that celebrates the coming out of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The event also aims to raise awareness of the LGBTQ community, as the Human Rights Campaign estimates one out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian.
A microphone was set up for students to share stories and poems regarding their coming out experience with the audience.
“Today’s event, we’re celebrating National Coming Out Day, and really encouraging students to express themselves, in whatever way that is, really about being proud, being true, and being you,” said Sarina Loeb, coordinator of the Pride Center.
“Be true, be you” was the Pride Center’s motto for the event this year.
Christina Corral, a 19-year-old sociology major, was attending such an event for the first time, and enjoyed the Express Yourself activities.
“It’s good to be in an environment where I know I’m not judged and I feel comfortable with myself, with my girlfriend, and knowing everything’s going to be okay,” she said.
The variety show featured performances by The Cuddlers, an a cappella subgroup of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, the CSUN hip hop dance team and a variety of spoken word performances including poetry and singing.
In another room, balloons representing various LGBTQ symbols were assembled on the wall, and students videotaped their coming out stories for an archive.
Jorge Reyes, event assistant for lectures and culture at the USU, emphasized that the event was not meant to push people to come out.
“I’m just really excited that this year is happening to a point where it’s not pushing people to come out. It’s more like expressing themselves and it’s a new angle,” Reyes said.
This was not the first variety show held in celebration of National Coming Out Day. Last year the Pride Center held the Out Loud and Proud event at the USU, and the CSUN LGBTQA club have hosted similar events in the past before the Pride Center opened last fall.