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Western Carolinian article "National Coming Out Day"

  • hl-westerncarolinianclipping-1996-10-10-vol62-no08-03.jpg
  • This article by staff writer Christy Hicks in the October 10, 1996 Western Carolinian is titled "National Coming Out Day." The article explains that Coming Out Day is October 11 and commemorates the 1987 March on Washington for lesbian and gay rights and the inaugural visit of the AIDS quilt to the Capitol. The article talks about the process and difficulties of coming out and ends with the information about the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Association which meets on campus weekly. Founded in 1985, Lavender Bridges was the first organized group for lesbian and gay men on campus. The last mention of the group appeared in the October 10, 1991 issue of the Western Carolinian.
  • National Coming Out Day CHRISTY HICKS STAFF WRITER Come out, come out, whatever you are, because October 11 is National Coming Out Day. This day commemorates the 1987 March on Washington for lesbian and gay rights and the in- augural visit of the Names Project (the AIDS quilt) to the nation's capital "Coming out" or "coming out of the closet" is the act of revealing the truth about your sexual orientation to yourself and/or others. According to the Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that fights for the rights of Gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals, coming out is important in creating change and dispelling myths about gay people. Because of this, the leaders in the gay and lesbian movement decided that October 11 should be the day to focus attention on coming out and raising the visibility of gay people in their communities and the media. Coming out means different things to different people. It could be anything from having your first same-sex experience to becoming involved in the gay, lesbian, and bisexual movement. Many organizations, like the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, applaud the act of coming out because it takes courage. These groups understand that coming out means risking rejection from your family and friends. Michelle Mazzucco, advisor for WCU's Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Association, says that Coming Out Day is about "honoring and respecting each individual person's right to come out in their own way and in their own time." There are three basic stages in the coming out process: self- acceptance, telling others, and integrating yourself into the world around you. Coming out is a lifelong process, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. It is not something you must handle alone; communities ev- erywhere have support groups that offer safe places where you can be "out." Many newspapers have a community section where various kinds of support groups are listed with contact names and telephone numbers. A second way to find out about support groups in your area is to contact local churches. Many churches, such as Unitar- ian-Universalist churches, are gay-affirming and will be able to provide you with useful information and support. Locally-owned bookstores often have gay and lesbian community papers that list the different support groups or social organizations available in the area. Many of these papers are free. Gay bars also are a place to pick up gay publications that might list the information you need. The gay and lesbian publication for western North Carolina is called Community Connections. Copies of this paper can be picked up in the Psychological and Counseling Center on the campus of WCU and at some locations in Asheville. College campuses often offer gay, lesbian, and bisexual groups, and WCU is no exception. The Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Association meets on campus weekly and provides a safe space for people to talk about personal and community issues. For more information, contact Michelle Mazzucco at 227-7469.