Several campus organizations came together to celebrate National Coming Out Day by hosting a variety of events including a solidarity march from Old Main and a candlelight vigil hosted by the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion.
National Coming Out Day is observed on Oct. 11 and was founded in 1988 by LGBTQIA activists Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary to commemorate the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay rights.
“I think it is a unique experience for LGBTQIA people, and it’s something that we all probably have to do at least once, even if it’s just to ourselves,” Carter said. “And it’s something a lot of us have to do almost every single day, you know, even just saying ‘my girlfriend and I’ or going out on a walk. Suddenly that person knows, and you never know when that’s going to be a difficult or awkward experience. So this is to encourage other people to come out and be themselves, but also saying to those who can’t be out right now, that we are here, we’re present and we support you and you have a community waiting for you when you’re ready.”
The week’s events also garnered support from local politicians, including Congressional candidate Derrick Crowe and House candidate Erin Zwiener.
Zwiener, candidate for Texas House District 45 to represent Hays and Blanco counties, made an appearance at the solidarity march Oct. 11, donning a “Y’all means all” poster as she joined in the march from Old Main to the president’s house.
“I’m really inspired by the activism of students here at Texas State,” Zwiener said. “I know when I was their age, I was too scared to come out. (If elected) I will fight for comprehensive workplace and housing non-discrimination laws.”
In a recent report by Buzzfeed, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that as of August 2017, there have been 33 hate-crime related homicides of LGBTQIA people. These numbers surpass the 28 deaths in 2016, not including the 49 victims that were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Fifteen of those killed in 2017 were transgender women of color.
Emma Bogue, communication studies junior and president of Transcend, said that while these numbers are certainly disappointing, as a transgender woman herself, the numbers are not surprising.
“As a white person, I have a great deal of privilege, and cannot fully speak to the experiences of those most marginalized,” Bogue said. “With that said, those numbers make me feel outraged. Outraged that the most marginalized members of our community are the ones most often at risk of violence; outraged that their assaults and deaths often go under-reported or flat out unreported; outraged that when they are reported, they are often misgendered and/or dead-named in articles meant to share who they were; outraged that they are so often remembered by names that were not theirs.”