SF State’s coming out day celebrates importance of community

Students passing through the quad on Monday were greeted by rainbow flags, multicolored balloons and organizations eager to inform them about on campus resources for the LGBTQ+ community to celebrate National Coming Out Day.

SF State’s Queer & Trans Resource Center hosted the event with a goal to celebrate students in the queer community, and invite them to share their coming out stories on stage. They also provided a rainbow curtain that people could walk through to symbolize a coming out door.

“Today I want to bring back a sense of community for students and remind them that there is an LGBT presence,” said Rumaldo Godinez, director of the QTRC and assistant director of the Queer Alliance.

Various organizations associated with or in support of the LGBTQ+ community tabled at the event alongside QTRC including: Queer Alliance; Center for Research & Education on Gender and Sexuality; Education and Referral Organization for Sexuality.

Lauren Wolf, a QTRC volunteer, went on stage in the quad and shared her story of coming out as asexual to her brother while people cheered her on in support.

Queer Alliance and Trans Center members Alan Martinez (left) and Lauren Wolf (center) speak to a SF State student during the Coming Out Day event in Malcolm X Plaza on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.

[/media-credit] Queer Alliance and Trans Center members Alan Martinez (left) and Lauren Wolf (center) speak to a SF State student during the Coming Out Day event in Malcolm X Plaza on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016.

“This day is to celebrate people on the LGBT plus spectrum that are brave enough to come out and those not ready to come out and let them know this is a safe space for anyone,” Wolf said.

Maria Rivera, a political science and women gender studies double major, celebrated their one year anniversary of coming out as pansexual and agender to their parents on National Coming Out Day last year.

“I can’t believe it’s already been a year,” Rivera said excitedly while looking at buttons that highlighted the use of they/them pronouns from the QTRC table. “It was a very exciting and nerve-racking time, but now it’s great knowing that all the fears were internalized, and I am fortunate to have parents that have been very supportive.”

Members of the Safe Zone Ally program, a newly established organization, were eager to participate in the event for the first time. The Safe Zone consists of a network of faculty, staff and administrators that have been trained as allies for the LGBTQ+ community.

“For me, this day is a memory of my own coming out process,” said Rick Nizzardini, chair of the Safe Zone Ally committee. “Everyone’s story is unique and different based on gender, class, age, everything.”

Kayla Lam-Little, assistant director of The Women’s Center, tabled in support for the QTRC and to inform students that her organization is moving toward being more inclusive by making it a resource for trans and gender binary students as well.

“The Women’s Center is not just for women, but anyone who identifies as a woman,” Lam-Little said.

Students passing through the event made supportive buttons at the Safe Zone table and learned more about resources for the LGBTQ+ community from informational pamphlets at the tables, such as QTRC’s Trans Support Group on Oct. 19, and learning more about Phi Delta Xi, the only gay fraternity on campus.

“I’ve been on campus and felt like the only queer student,” said Raymond Estrada, assistant director of QTRC, “it’s important to know that there is a community here.”

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