Students of the University of Nevada, Reno celebrated National Coming Out Day on the first floor of the Joe Crowley Student Union on Oct. 11.
The public event hosted by the JCSU provided students with a safe space to relax and talk to LGBTQ+ students and allies in a welcoming environment. University clubs and organizations related to the LGBTQ+ community tabled to promote their upcoming events.
In honor of National Coming Out Day, the first floor lobby of the JCSU was garnished with pride flags and a rainbow arch of balloons. Student services stands were there to promote the university’s resources for LGBTQ+ students.
The event featured exciting engagement activities and gave away free LGBTQ+-related goods, including Pride flags. There were even handmade pins featuring Pride designs which were made by UNR’s LGBTQ+ inclusive sorority, Alpha Delta Gamma Rho Lamda. The pins were highly favored among guests. The balloon rainbow arch acted as a festive backdrop for students to commemorate the event by taking a free instant photo under it. Different flavors of Insomnia cookies were offered as a festive snack, and the event held a raffle to win an Instax instant camera; the winner was set to be announced on social media.
The celebration served an important role in educating students about the resources available on campus for all LGBTQ+ students.
Mia Ordones, a student at the university, said the event was meaningful.
“I guess it is comforting to know there are people out here on campus to accept you and they are not going to judge for being who you are and not misgender you for it. They are okay with you being genderfluid, nonbinary, or trans.” Ordones said.
Ari Frey, another university student, was also impacted by the prominence of the event.
“I think being in such a public space just shows that the school really isn’t ashamed of showing support for it, because a lot of times a school will claim to be LGBT[Q+] friendly and they’ll have events sometimes or they’ll send out emails, but its hidden; it can be easily buried, but this is so public so it just means a lot. It proves they are not afraid to show their support,” Frey said.
University students resonated with the message of the event and appreciated the prominence of the event in the community. Given the history of LGBTQ+ suppression by schools across the country, having such public events at the university gives room for students to feel accepted for who they are, students explained.
The importance of representative events at the university cannot be understated. Events such as this one allow students to find community support. By providing events such as these, the university can illustrate its support for marginalized communities.
“I think I have never been to pride before, so any pride-themed things or events make me feel more proud of being part of the community,” Frey explained.
For the LGBTQ+ community, coming out is a daunting task that takes significant courage. The university’s celebration of coming out highlights its importance within and outside the LGBTQ+ community.
Noah Scott can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.