Tuesday, October 14, 1997

Students emerge from the closet on Coming Out Day

Students emerge from the closet on Coming Out Day
The Chicago Maroon
By Pamela Appea

An enthusiastic crowd congregated outside Cobb Hall last Friday afternoon in observance of National Coming Out Day. Countless people gave mini-speeches about their gay identity, ranging in tone from personal to the political. On their way to and from class, many students and faculty took the time out to listen.

The event entitled “Come Out – Speak Out” was hosted by Queers & Associates, the gay and lesbian organization on The University of Chicago campus. Queers and Associates, like countless other organizations nationwide, commemorate National Coming Out Day, an event which has been officially celebrated since 1988.

“The main idea of National Coming Out Day, is to encourage openness on campus. People can feel free to talk about sexuality and sexual orientation,” said Kathryn Campbell-Kibler, a member of Q & A and a fourth-year student in the College.

At the University, the Coming Out Group is a support group which meets weekly to help people deal with issues of sexual orientation. A representative described the group as a space for people of all orientations to explore and develop their sexual identity. Its particular focus is in discussing and dealing with issues surrounding the questioning of one’s sexual orientation, and the process of coming out to oneself and others.

A facilitate who has contact information and professional references is always present at the group.

The Coming Out Group meets alternate Wednesdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m., starting Wednesday, October 2nd, at Brent House, 5540 South Woodlawn Avenue.

October is also the Gay History Month. In a press release, The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) announced the theme of the fourth annual event is “Charting the Future, Reclaiming the Past,” which will highlight the often ignored contributions of gay figures and the community in history.

During Lesbian & Gay History Month, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community examines its political struggle, cultural achievements and collective creativity.

“Lesbian & Gay History Month creates a more honest and complete understanding of history by telling untold stories,” said Joan M. Garry, GLAAD’s Executive Director. “It provides us with the opportunity to reflect on the distance we have traveled as a community and to honor the stewards of that journey.”

Originally published October 14, 1997