Photobooth offered for National Coming Out Day
Ellie Sherry — Reporter
Each year National Coming Out Day is celebrated on Oct. 11. To honor the day at Southern, a photo booth was set up to take Polaroid pictures of students either coming out for the first time or just celebrating who they are. National Coming Out Day started in the U. S. after the march on Washington D.C. for lesbian and gay rights. It has now become a day of celebrating one’s sexual orientation and gender identity.
“The SAGE Center is an acronym for Sexuality and Gender Equality Center,” said Marlena Oliveri, graduate intern for the SAGE Center.
“We are a space for students to come hang out if they want. We have a lounge area, a TV, and plenty of space to just chill and hangout.” English major Hannah Cianciolo, a junior, said it is necessary that the university has the SAGE Center because it provides a safe space for students.
“It also helps to create visibility for the community and is a great place for resources and a great place to hang out,” said Cianciolo.
The photobooth created by the SAGE Center for National Coming Out Day invited students to have their picture taken in front of one of the LGBTQIA+ flags of their choice. They could hold up small dry-erase boards and write a phrase of their choosing, hold miniature flags or just smile for the camera. Students also had the option of keeping their polaroid photo, or leaving it at the SAGE Center to make a collage at the end of the day.
Bryam Silva, a second year graduate student studying clinical mental health counseling who works for the SAGE Center, said, in the past, people had always been terrified of coming out because of the threat of being judged and getting physically attacked.
“In having a national day of coming out, it encourages people to come out if they are ready,” said Silva. “There is definitely no pressure coming from us. We don’t want you to do it if you aren’t comfortable.”
Silva said one of the most shocking things he learned was about the very high amount of hate crimes the LGBTQ community experiences.
“I believe the highest one is black trans women experience very high levels of hate crimes,” said Silva. “There is also a very large number of suicides in the community because people don’t accept them, and that in and of itself is a huge impact on mental health in the community.”
According to Oliveri, while Oct. 11 is a National Coming Out Day, many individuals of the community feel as though they have to come out every single day. While this day is a good step in the right direction, she said society as a whole has a lot farther to go.