UA celebrates Coming Out Week
Mariia Khorosheva, a graduate student studying language, reading and culture, spray paints a shirt at the Coming Out Week resource fair on the UA Mall on Monday. Coming Out Week gives students support to come out to their parents and friends.
The UA celebration of Coming Out Week from National Coming Out Day onwards is leading up to Arizona’s decision to repeal the state ban on same sex marriage or not.
Campus organizations, as well as local Tucson organizations, lined the mall Monday from the morning to the afternoon to provide educational resources for the campus community.
Living Out Loud, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning health and wellness center in Tucson, was one of the local organizations to come out to the UA and kick off Coming Out Week. Chad Mosher, program coordinator at Living Out Loud, said Living Out Loud is also a gender center and offers gender conformation.
“Our hopes were to give people the message that we’re here to support the health and wellness of everyone,” Mosher said.The UA Young Democrats had a table set up on the mall to get people to vote, as well as to show its support for the LGBTQ community.
“We are really hoping to display how aligned the Democratic Party is with the LGBTQ community,” said Michael Sheridan, a political science senior and treasurer of the UA Young Democrats.
Members of the Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, an Associated Students of the University of Arizona club that is new to the UA this semester, were out on the mall to recruit new members for the club. According to Debbie Chen, an oSTEM member and a third-year genetics graduate student, the club is aiming to “promote the presence of LGBTQ in the sciences.”
Among other UA organizations in attendance were the Oasis Program, Feminists Organized to Resist, Create and Empower, the Human Rights Campaign and LGBTQ Affairs.
Cynthia Lona, a pre-family studies and human development and Spanish major, was a representative from the HRC. According to Lona, the HRC is working to increase awareness about issues affecting the LGBTQ community in Tucson.
“We just want to bring a face … bring this type of empowerment to the students and this community,” Lona said.
Jacob Winkelman, a political science sophomore in Pride Alliance, said Coming Out Week is important to show individuals that coming out is a lifetime process and is a way to bring together the LGBTQ community.
Winkelman also said Coming Out Week is important for individuals who have not come out yet.
“For people who haven’t come out yet, it’s a great, safe opportunity for them to do so … because for a lot of people, the fear of coming out is there won’t be that support system or that people won’t be accepting,” Winkelman said.
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