U of A Celebrates National Coming Out Day
By Laura Latzko, Oct. 9, 2014.
National Coming Out Day, observed annually on Oct. 11, encourages people to live openly in the way that fits best for them, find out about their local resources and connect with other community members.
As part of this year’s celebration, the University of Arizona’s Office of LGBT Affairs continues its annual observance of Coming Out Week, Oct. 10 to 17.
According to Greg Daniels, Coming Out Week events organizer, U of A’s Office of LGBT Affairs has partnered with a number of campus and community organizations to offer a variety of events for members of the LGBT community.
The theme for Coming Out Week 2014 is “never settle,” a play off a slogan used by the university, Daniels said. “We wanted to have a twist on it so it is queer people should never settle as second-class citizens.”
Daniels said many of the Coming Out Week events are meant to bring greater attention to LGBT identities that don’t get a great deal of focus, such as transgender or bisexual communities. He also hopes the events make students, especially incoming freshman, more aware of campus resources such as the LGBTQ Resource Center.
“I personally think it is one of my jobs to increase visibility on campus,” Daniels said. “I don’t think we are as visible as I’d like us to be. There are so many queer people that come to our space their senior year and they’re like, ‘I wish that I knew about this my freshman year.’ It’s like how can we reach all of those people and let them know we have a safe space on campus.
Daniels said the events introduce members of the campus community to potential mentors, such as Department of Gender and Women’s Studies assistant professor Francisco Galarte and Norton School Interim Director Stephen T. Russell.
Despite Tucson and the University of Arizona having very inclusive communities, Daniels said Coming Out Week continues to be important because of the need to create awareness about LGBT issues on campus and in the greater community and promote tolerance and acceptance.
“By increasing visibility, we normalize it more for people who didn’t come from a big city, people who came from the country and don’t ever see queer people,” he said. “It’s important to show that we exist and we are just like regular people, and we deserve the same rights. I’m sure we’ll get there, but for the time being, we have to be a little bit louder than everybody else to achieve that.”
Coming Out Week Schedule of Events:
U of A will also host a Rainbow Family Reception, for students and their biological or chosen families, from 3 to 5 p.m. Oct. 10 at the LGBTQ Resource Center.
The week of events also features a Made for Flight workshop on the communitywide tradition of building kites for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The workshop will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 16 at the LGBTQ Resource Center.
A screening of the 2014 film “The Normal Heart,” centered on an activist’s HIV awareness efforts in the 1980s, will take place at 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at Gallagher Theater in the Student Union.
Attend or participate in the Coming Out Week open mic, featuring musicians, storytellers and poets, from 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 17 at Manzanita-Mohave Residence Hall.
Coming Out Resource Fair
The resource fair, which will take place Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the mall, serves as the focal point of the week. According to Daniels, the fair will feature 20 to 30 LGBT-friendly religious, social and student organizations from the U of A campus and surrounding community.
As part of the fair, attendees can decorate T-shirts with identities, such as queer, pansexual and bisexual, Daniels said. To represent the symbolic idea of coming out, students will walk through a rainbow door.
Lectures and Conversations
Join Francisco J. Galarte Ph.D and John-Peter Wilhite, the Director of Development and Operations at Sonoran Glass School, for a brown bag lunch discussion on a history of HIV/AIDS activism and why it is important to know that history. The discussion takes place from noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 14 in the LGBTQ Resource Center (Room 404-0 of Student Union).
Stephen Russell will present a public lecture, “The Age of Coming Out: If Things Are So Much Better, Why Should We Still Care,” from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 14, at McClelland Park, 650 N. Park Ave., Tucson.
Join Why Marriage Matters Arizona’s Faith Director Reverend Debra Peevey for “A Campus Conversation: Marriage Equality and People of Faith” from 6 to 8 p.m.
Oct. 15 at the Christian Center, 715 N. Park Ave., Tucson.
Southern Arizona's second annual LGBT Freedom Day Parade will make its way through downtown Tucson beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 10. The parade route will begin in the parking lot east of St. Augustine Cathedral (192 S. Stone Ave.) and end at the 41st annual Tucson Meet Yourself festival. Pima County Supervisor-District 5 Richard Elias will serve as Parade Grand Marshal. In honor of the outstanding efforts across the United States and beyond to realize marriage equality, the official 2014 parade theme is "Coloring our World with Love."