In the brightly colored LGBTQ Life office, where rainbow chains cascaded from the ceiling, Johns Hopkins University faculty, students, and staff celebrated National Coming Out Day over bagels, fruit, coffee, and tea.
National Coming Out Day, held each year on Oct. 11, is dedicated to advocating for the civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. It also commemorates the anniversary of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, a political rally held in 1987 that drew half a million people and displayed the AIDS Quilt.
For JHU, the day celebrates those who are "out" in the community as well as allies, said Demere Woolway, director of LGBTQ Life.
"It's important for students to know who their allies and supporters are around campus," Woolway said. "It's important for LGBTQ and allied folks to come together and celebrate the community and seek each other's resources and support and enjoy being together."
Blue Jays from across the university dropped by to chat, eat, and take time to answer questions about LGBTQ life on campus. They were also able to learn about the office's upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.
LGBTQ Life hosts identity-specific meet-ups including Queer Men; Queer Women; Roots—LGBTQ People of Color; Transgender and Genderqueer; and Asexual Spectrum.
On Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Charles Commons Barber Room, there will be a story-sharing workshop with Single Carrot Theater. Attendees will share their experiences with gender, sexuality, and performative identity, and the conversation will be used in an adaptation of Peter Pan.
The following month, on Nov. 16, the office will co-host ThanksGAYving with the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance.
For more information or to attend a meet-up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.