Students and staff celebrate National Coming Out Day

Rachel Cho and Ana Espinoza

Empowerment and equal rights were the words on everybody’s lips as the school came together to celebrate National Coming Out Day.  On Oct. 11, the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), partnered with Long Island Gay And Lesbian Youth (LIGALY), orchestrated several events and activities to celebrate the nationwide day of respect.

“National Coming Out Day is important for Schreiber since it advocates safer schools for the whole student body, not only LGBT students,” said junior and GSA vice-president Olivia Mann.  “Additionally, for those LGBT students, it illustrates the support system Schreiber’s GSA provides.  National Coming Out Day’s purpose is to let students know that it’s okay to be gay, bisexual, transgender etc. and that there are students who are here to support you and understand your struggles.”

The GSA operated a table in the lobby during periods 3, 4-1, and 4-2 in honor of the event. The lobby was decorated with a garland of rainbow balloons, and GSA members distributed ally stickers, rainbow ribbon pins, and informational pamphlets.  Many students continue to wear the pins on their backpacks.

GSA members and sophomores Ciara Amos, Lexy Cruz, and Rachelle Huitt were stationed at the table during period 4-2.

“I believe that National Coming Out Day is a significant day just because everyone has to realize that human beings are human beings no matter what you like and what you do. Everyone should be treated equally and fairly in life,” said Huitt.

The event is not only about LGBT youth coming out about their sexuality for the first time—straight allies are strongly encouraged to get involved and demonstrate their support.

“It’s not really about coming out but also supporting the LGBTQ community, and being accepting and tolerant,” said Amos.

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the officially recognized National Coming Out Day.  Traditionally, the date also marks the anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

“I feel National Coming Out Day is a meaningful day because it brings awareness to the teachers and students,” said junior and GSA President Adam Harris.  “It is a way to show pride in yourself that you’ve come out and also to other people that have come out.”

Faculty members also agreed with the purpose of Coming Out Day.  “Those of us who embrace diversity, and not fear it, will be better suited for success, at all levels, in this rapidly changing world,” said ESL social studies teacher and GSA advisor Mr. John Davis.