SAGA hosts ‘Coming Out Day’ event
By Sarah Barney
As a way to promote “National Coming Out Day,” the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) club led a presentation on Thursday, Oct. 11 in the Centre for Engaged Inclusion between 4 and 5 p.m.
The speakers at the event talked about the “Cass model” of identity development, as well as going over dos and don’ts for coming out.
In addition, SAGA Co-Adviser and Safe Zone Chairperson Brandon Lawler shared his coming-out story during the presentation.
“I think the sharing of my personal coming-out story and those of other individuals will help attendees find connections with one another, and realize that they may not be alone in their experiences,” Lawler said.
Jake Stickney, a graphic design major, attended the event and shared his experience with the group.
“It’s helpful to talk about your story because it helps you vent it out and spread awareness for how hard it is to be in this community,” Stickney said.
Stickney said he enjoyed listening to other people share their stories as well.
“It was pretty nice to know that I’m surrounded by people that deal with the same stuff that I deal with,” Stickney said. “It’s really nice to know that there are people from my type of background that had the same story.
“Brandon’s story was kind of like my own. You stay in the closet until you graduate; you don’t tell your family.”
Stickney had the following advice for those who may be questioning.
“When I was first questioning that I was trans, I’d go on YouTube and type in transgender things and watch documentaries or other trans YouTubers talking about their stories and going through their transition,” Stickney said. “It was really helpful.”
Another student who attended the event was Zachary Densmore, a photography major who frequently attends SAGA meetings.
“I don’t think I ever actively came out; it was just something that I didn’t really care what other people thought at that point,” Densmore said.
Densmore also talked about why he feels events such as “Coming Out Day” event are important.
“There’s a quote, I can’t remember who it was, that said, ‘The opposite of hate is understanding,’ and so the more you talk about things, the more you can put information out and approach things from a factual basis … and create understanding,” Densmore said.
Lawler shared his thoughts on the “Coming Out Day.”
“Events such as this are important for a plethora of reasons,” Lawler said. “Showcasing and highlighting such events allow the LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff and community members to feel validated and welcomed.
“In addition, these events provide an avenue for the aforementioned groups to network, which can lead to future collaborations and build a foundation for a more inclusive college campus.”
Moving forwards, both SAGA and the Safe Zone will hold more LGBTQ+ events around campus.
National Latinx HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Monday, Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. SAGA will host a table in the Gannon Highway with information.
On Friday, Oct. 26, there will be an Intersex 101 session from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Centre for Engaged Inclusion. The event will be hosted by the Safe Zone team and is open to all students, faculty and staff.
More events will be announced for Transgender Awareness Week in November. There will also be an end-of-semester event in December.
For additional information about the SAGA Club or club events, contact Co-Advisers James Ferguson and Brandon Lawler at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.