BC celebrates National Coming Out Day

Thursday, Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day. Coming Out Day is a day of commemoration and honor, but has a special meaning to each individual in the LGBT community. Coming Out Day is to celebrate those who came out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc., or to urge those still closeted to do the same.
“There are a lot of people who’ve grown up with poor LGBT education,” Fawkes Kaiser, the president of the LGBT club, explained. “It’s to honor those who are still closeted and to celebrate those who’ve had the chance to come out,” they said. “It’s different for each individual person, because it all really depends on how much they see their sexual identity or gender identity affecting themselves.”
“Coming out, for every person, is so completely different as an experience,” Sasha, a leader and member of the club, explained. “My coming out experience was very contentious, my parents were not happy. Not in the slightest,” she mentioned.
Sasha then went on to detail how a coming out experience could be difficult, and how we should respect that not everyone has been able to feel like they can do it yet. Trying to educate people can be tough because one might experience some rebuttal or hear some inappropriate or offensive replies. “While trying to educate your friends, you might end up losing some people because they don’t see transgender people under the definition of people,” she said.
“That’s another big part of coming out,” Reece, another club leader, added. “You’re educating people, and it can be really, really exhausting. You’re in a really vulnerable place, but also you have to be the educator and you have to be able to answer a lot of questions,” he explained. “My coming out experience was really weird, because all of my friends and all of the people in school were super supportive, but my family was the opposite.”
Kaiser went on to detail that while positive coming out experiences should be celebrated, one must also recognize that some people have a more difficult time. “You hear all sorts of different positive coming out stories, which I think is great, but we also can’t put such a heavy emphasis on the good without seeing the bad aspects of it too. For some people, it’s bargaining and trying to make compromises that you shouldn’t have to make with your family.”
“Singular ‘they’ comes up a lot as a point that people are not willing to do anything to educate themselves about,” Sasha detailed. “It’s the same with bisexuality. People are very functionalistic, they want to be able to put you in a box. So if you say ‘I like both,’ or ‘I am both,’ it becomes a lot harder for people to understand,” said Sasha.
Bellevue College should pride itself on being very tolerant and progressive, however there are clearly still big issues regarding equality on campus. Some people have been making it unsafe for the LGBT community, and the LGBT center is a safe haven for them. There are still alt-right groups on campus that members of this community are being affected by. “I really want people to come here to feel safe and make sure that Nazis aren’t being invited into this area,” Kaiser said.