Wednesday, October 11, 2006

National Coming Out Day

Today QSU held a rally for National Coming Out Day on the Women's Center lawn. After some brief panicking over a busted PA system, we managed to check out a second one from a neighboring campus organization (Thanks EOP!) and the show was on. This is the first time we had held it on the Women's Center lawn since I first saw the rally my first year at UCSB 4 years ago. For this kind of event, where we want people to feel as empowered and safe as possible so that they can share their stories, it really is much better. I learned that the lowered design of storke plaza was decided because back in the 60s when powerful political protests were common, a lowered plaza would be idea for exerting crowd control on unruly demonstrations. Suffice to say, it's not a very good place to get people feeling courageous enough to step up to a mic and bear their soul.

After an introduction we were treated to a great talk by our guest speaker, Professor Leila Rupp, Chair of the women's studies department. After that...well, basically for almost 3 hours people poured out their souls to the crowd. One after another people went up and shared their coming out stories and words of encouragement, some stories very happy and some very sad, and a lot of emotion in between. To hear my friends share their tales of hardships over coming out to their friends and their family, and then say through their tears that they think of us as their family and their strength here at UCSB was such a powerful thing, and I'm sort of getting choked up thinking about it as I write. The positive feeling of community even got me up there to share my own story, which I wasn't sure I'd have the nerve to do.

In addition to the open mic we had a large white cloth stabled to a plywood board that was meant for people to write on, be it a simple signature, a well-wishing, a poem or a paragraph. A lot of people came up to write on it, making it another big success of the rally. While all of the writings were funny, smart, and poignant, there was something on the board that struck a chord with me. Someone who signed their name only as "H" wrote: "not yet..."

I saw that and I thought, "wow, that's actually pretty deep." :-) Unless outed by circumstance or a meddling third party, we all come out on our own terms and at our own pace. I hope that whatever pace "H" chooses for him/herself, that when the big moment comes he/she has the same kind of awesome community supporting them that I'm proud to say I have.

Oh yeah, and we had rainbow sherbet!


Post a Comment

<< Home