Pres Seymore, a junior studying music and education, came out as a freshman in high school and experienced ‘almost too much’ acceptance from her Christian family.
Seymore’s experience is specific to her, and everyone’s experience coming out is different. However, National Coming Out Day celebrates anyone who identifies as LGBT and gives them an opportunity to share who they are with those around them. Coming out could be considered sharing one’s sexuality or gender identity.
Ohio University’s LGBT Center celebrated National Coming Out Day last Friday, with a Speak OUt rally hosted on College Green. The center will also be celebrating throughout Oct. 11, which is the actual date of the national day, with posts on social media. “It’s one of our ‘holi-gays’ and an opportunity to celebrate us, our community and the journey of coming out,” delfin bautista, the director of LGBT Center, said.
National Coming Out Day began in 1988 through the LGBT movement because members wanted to be open with those outside of the community, according to ABC News.
Coming out means a person is able to embrace themself, bautista, who uses they/them pronouns and a lower case spelling of their name, said.
“For me, coming out meant for the first time to engage a part of myself that I could not while growing up,” bautista said.
Seymore said she loved National Coming Out Day because it’s filled with “lots of rainbows and glitter.”
Seymore, who is the leader of Speak OUt and is a co-leader for the LGBT bible study, described the day as a time where everyone is given recognition, whether they are out of the closet or not.
“There are folks who will make that vocal proclamation and then there are other folks who come out simply by who they are, and that’s just as valid.” bautista said. “There’s not a way to come out, and more and more I’m realizing what that actually means.”
There are aspects of who people are that impact what they pay attention to in themselves, and coming out is embracing all of those different parts, bautista said.
“Coming out is not necessarily how you would imagine it,” Seymore said. “It’s like discovering your true identity.”
bautista hopes someday Oct. 11 will be celebrated more as a day to recognize LGBT people’s history and those who made it possible for others to be out.
“There are folks that are scared, (and the day has) helped people realize that they’re not alone and there are others that are on a similar journey,” they said. “For those of us who can come out it demands that there be more safe spaces, but we shouldn’t be limited to those spaces.”
There are very real reasons why a person may not come out, and bautista said a lot of students have shared a fear of being cut off from their families.
“I think in the last 15 years we’ve come a long way and there are conversations happening that weren’t even possible (before),” bautista said. “There’s a lot of progress, but there's a lot of work still to be done. As we progress, we’re also catching up.”
Seymore doesn’t believe that Coming Out Day will always be necessary.
“Generations before didn’t stress coming out, they just were,” she said. “And now we have a lot of names and words to put what we are, for a lot of people that’s needed, but it’s not essential to who we are.”
Seymore suggested that those who haven’t yet come out should wait until they’re ready.
“Know that you will always have an LGBT family on campus and everywhere you go. Your safety is your priority,” Seymore said.