Awareness at center of Coming Out Week

Daily Sundial

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The campus played host to various National Coming Out Week events last week as organizers scheduled events that featured themes of awareness and belonging.

One of CSUN’s oldest organizations, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Alliance, along with students from the Women’s Resource and Research Center, helped lead the coordination of events that ran from Oct.10 through Oct.13.

As part of the week’s festivities, a film series was screened at the Women’s Resource and Research Center from Oct. 10 through Oct. 12.

Thomas Gudino, president of LGBTA, helped coordinate the event and said the film series was aimed not only to help individuals reveal their sexuality, but also for others to understand those that choose to do so.

“We are showing (a) film series to just get the word out there and get people to understand that we are regular people,” said Gudino, a humanities major.

The first film in the series was “A Home at the End of the World,” which depicts two friends that are inseparable. On Oct. 11, “The Laramie Project’ was screened. The film portrays the events surrounding the murder of Matthew Sheppard. A documentary about the 2004 Lesbian March in Mexico that shows how Mexican women struggle with their sexual orientation was screened on Oct. 12.

LGBTA was formed in November 1972 at CSUN. The group was formed to provide a safe and supportive environment for its members and students, Gudino said.

In Fall 2004, the group organized a large-scale gay marriage rally, and in Spring 2005, LGBTA coordinated a staged event meant to look like a gay marriage ceremony on the Student Services Lawn.

As part of National Coming Out Week, the group handed out armbands on Oct. 13 that featured a pink triangle, which is known as the symbol for the gay and lesbian community.

Gudino and other LGBTA members passed out armbands, and Gudino said any student was able to pick one up, regardless of sexual orientation. Gudino said students also wore rainbow colors to support the group’s cause and to support the week’s activities.

“Just because you have the arm band on, doesn’t mean you’re gay,” he said. “Wearing that band means you’re supporting us and that you understand us.”

Gudino said the club wants students to support LGBTA and talk about their experiences. The group encourages anyone to voice their thoughts, especially those who are just coming out.

“Talking about it is our thing this year,” Gudino said. “We want people to talk about coming out and help them realize that they are not the only ones going through it. There are lots of us and we’re everyone. They are not alone.”

Members of LGBTA and students from the Women’s Resource and Research Center also chalked important dates in history and a schedule of the week’s events on the sidewalk in front of the Oviatt Library early last week.

“We want the club to be seen more,” he said. “Then there will be more acceptance and everyone will see that we’re like everybody else.”

Marta Lopez-Garza, chair of the Women’s Studies Department, said more events, such as this year’s weeklong event, would promote a change on campus, she said.

“These events are people taking a stand. One way things change in society is by taking a stand,” Lopez-Garza said. “Letting students express themselves and support LGBTA’s cause is a chance for others to acknowledge these people have an identity.”

Oscar Areliz can be reached at oscar.areliz@csun.edu