Texas State’s Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion and several on-campus LGBTQIA+ student organizations are collaborating to celebrate LGBTQIA+ History Month and National Coming Out Week.
For National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion handed out rainbow-colored ribbons and informational pamphlets at the LBJ Student Center and students celebrated in the quad at the Stallions.
“It says things like that to keep students awareness heightened as to what that coming out process looks like and how a reaction or how someone takes the information of someone coming out to them can be very impactful to an individual who is just coming to terms with their identity,” Coordinator for LGBTQIA+ Programs Robert Garcia said.
There are also ways off-campus to show spirit for Coming Out Week. On Friday, students can celebrate solidarity by wearing purple to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Lambda will host an Under-the-Sea themed dance and drag show 11 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Stonewall Warehouse, located downtown.
According to a Pew Research published in 2013, 92 percent of American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults said society has become more accepting in the last decade. However, 39 percent said they felt rejected by a family member or close friend due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The survey also states the median age when most lesbian, gay or bisexual adults felt they might not be straight or heterosexual is 12 years old and the median age when they first realize it is 17 years old. According to the survey, the median age for coming out to a family member or close friend is 20 years old.
Travis Anderson, computer science freshman, is an active member of QueerCats and Bobcat PRIDE.
“(Joining an organization) is a lot like living with a family,” Anderson said. “It’s a safe place to talk.”
Bobcat P.R.I.D.E., Lambda at Texas State, QueerCats, and Transcend all hosted general meetings during the week of Oct. 7 for both LGBTQIA+ History Month and Coming Out Week.
“For Coming Out Week, (Lambda) did alphabet soup where we talked about as many letters as we can in LGBTQIA+ as well as what they mean,” Richerson said. “We also talked about historical things to educate the masses.”
This is the second year Texas State has participated in LGBTQIA+ History Month, but Richerson said LGBTQIA+ student organizations have always participated in Coming Out Week.
“Coming Out Week was not always as collaborative as it is now,” Richerson said. “When I was a freshman, the student organizations all did events separately throughout the week, and when the people before me became officers is when the collaboration started to happen. Now it is easier to do a lot more for (Coming Out) Week.”
The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion is collaborating with several different offices to create events for the rest of the month.
“The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Office of Disability Services, is doing a LatinX AIDS Awareness event on the sixteenth,” Garcia said. “It’s LatinX because it still falls within Latin Heritage Month. We’re going to be offering free HIV testing in the LBJ HUB from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
Tamia Jones, education sophomore and public relations officer for QueerCats, said she believes it is important to promote the events going on throughout the week.
“(At Texas State) we have multiple LGBT+ orgs and even more being created right now,” Jones said. “I feel like there’s a home for everyone here.”
The Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion will hold a lecture series with transgender activist Erica Anderson Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the LBJ Teaching Theater.
According to Vice President of Community for Transcend Nayir Vieria, LGBTQIA+ organizations at Texas State have always been proud, especially during Coming Out Week and LGBTQIA+ History Month.
“If the organizations that started before I got here weren’t extremely determined to do Coming Out Week, they were still doing something on that day and were still talking about it and showing people that they exist,” Vieria said. “I feel really great to be a part of this community and about being an officer for an organization like Transcend.”
To stay up to date with each organization, check out Facebook and Twitter: @TranscendTXST, @TXSTQueerCats, @lambdaTXST, @bobcatPRIDEtx and @TXStateBAA. A tentative schedule can be found on any of their media.
Life and Arts contributor Ryan Torres contributed to this story.