WVU Parkersburg to celebrate National Coming Out Day
Parkersburg, W.Va. (Oct. 9, 2023) — WVU Parkersburg’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is celebrating this year’s National Coming Out Day with guest speakers, film discussions, bracelet making and more.
“National Coming Out Day is an annual LGBTQIA+ awareness day that anyone can support before the LGBTQIA+ population. It’s an opportunity to share who you are with your friends and family,” said Nancy Harris, Executive Director of Career Services and chair of the DEI Committee.
The celebration will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the College Activities Center. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to come down to create LGBTQIA+ pride buttons and bracelets. Students will be able to use various colors to customize their bracelets and buttons to their identities.
At 12:15 p.m., there will be a showing of three short films, “The Outcoming”, “Out” and a scene from “Love, Simon.” Ocean Smith from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will facilitate a collective discussion on the three films afterward. Jenny Williams, also from the ACLU, will lead a short pride-themed meditation after the film discussion.
Also available to WVU Parkersburg students is a private chat with alum and mental health professional, Kaci Romanowski. She will be available to students to speak to one-on-one in the college’s Activity Center.
“We wanted to have some support available, as we know that coming out day can bring up some challenges for some people,” said Alicia Beeson, Associate Professor of English and member of the DEI Committee.
National Coming Out Day was first observed in the United States in 1988. The holiday acts as an LGBTQIA+ awareness day and is about encouraging and supporting anyone who “comes out of the closet.” The day was inaugurated by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary, two LGBTQIA+ activists. The date of Oct. 11 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987.
“No one at WVU Parkersburg, regardless of your sexuality, your gender, your color, ever is alone because we truly are a family,” said Harris.