Members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alliance (LGBTA) club stood under a rainbow of balloons at the Plaza del Sol on Wednesday to celebrate National Coming Out Day.
National Coming Out Day is a yearly celebration on October 11 to promote awareness of gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights and to provide a safe environment for people to come out.
The tradition was instituted after a gay march began in Washington D.C. on October 11, 1988 to demand equal rights for the LGBT community.
Despite the day’s celebration, coming out still depends a lot on your personal situation, said Eric Koller, a senior languages and cultures major, who has been involved with LGBTA since his freshman year.
Coming out experiences vary from person to person. For Tanya Oleskowicz, a sophomore journalism major, the experience coming out to her parents varied from mother to father. Her mother was more accepting because according to her, gay people “run in the family” but her father believed her to be “possessed by the devil” at first. He later got over it.
Oleskowicz has never been confronted by people about her sexuality although at times she does notice people staring, but to her CSUN is “still the most accepting place” she has experienced.
As the celebration continued, members and curious students approached the table to inquire about the Wall of Secrets, a poster set up where students could write their secrets. There was also the Treasure Box of Secrets, intended for students to submit their most intimate secrets with anonymity.
Over a span of three hours over a hundred people lingered to talk and many submitted their secrets.
Some secrets listed on the wall were, “I failed to tell my mom that I’m gay multiple times” or “I want to tell my mother everything about how my life is going but I can’t. Her only knowing I’m gay is not enough.”
“Maybe you want to get something off your chest and this may be the only outlet for them,” said Jordan Lunsford, who is the public relations coordinator for LGBTA. For many people, their worst fears of coming out is that they don’t want to be treated differently after they come out or their family to disown you.
“Depending on how strong your Gay Straight Alliance or LGBTA club is on campus, is what will determine how open people are on campus,” said Vania Ellison, an ally and Vice President of CSUN’s LGBTA club.
Ellison agrees that at CSUN there are a lot of allies. The LGBTA is a well known organization on campus as their membership continues to grow every semester.
During their weekly meetings there are nearly 100 students attending compared to 2004 when the club only had eight members.
Our sole mission is to provide a safe space for students to be out and to bring more education about issues concerning the LGBT community, Ellison said.
For any further information about the CSUN LGBTA organization you can visit their Web site at www.lgbta.org/index.html or attend their weekly meetings every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the University Student Union’s Thousand Oaks Room.