University of Southern California

USC Student Affairs and Campus Life

USC’s LGBTQ Community Invites Students to Come Out, Come Out, Wherever They Are

By L. Alexis Young Wednesday, October 10, 2012

USC celebrates National Coming Out month.Photo by Joel ZinkUSC celebrates National Coming Out month.

The LGBT Resource Center, the Queer & Ally Student Assembly (QuASA) and the Rainbow Floor have teamed up to bring nearly 30 events to campus to celebrate National Coming Out Month. Talks and tours, mixers and meetings have led up to an extravaganza on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day.

“USC is a safe space for LGBT students, and National Coming Out Day is a way to highlight that,” explained Vincent Vigil, director of the LGBT Resource Center. “This month, we’re highlighting our community, and we want to make certain that every one feels safe and accepted to be who they are here at USC.”

At 11 a.m. on Oct. 11, festivities will be held next to Tommy Trojan, including balloon artists, dance performances, music and a door for people to walk through symbolizing their coming out experiences.

On the same day, the Daily Trojan will publish the annual “Out List,” with a record 1,100 signatures from people who identify with or support the LGBT and queer community.

October kicked off with the QuASA Lecture Series, featuring Marsha Aizumi, an author and advocate for the LGBT community. She embraced the cause because of the bullying her son, who was born female but lives as a man, endured throughout high school.

Every Sunday in October, QuASA is hosting day-long workshops, guest speakers and film screenings as part of the Empowerment Series, an intercollegiate initiative meant to bring people of all identities together. “The focus is educating  people about the history of oppression in the LGBT community and also using our own stories and tools to empower ourselves in our communities,” explained Mellissa Linton, executive director of QuASA.

The LGBT Resource Center has launched a virtual coming out campaign and used social media as an outlet for people to get involved. The center asked allies to take pictures of themselves holding signs that say “I am an ally,” upload the photos to Facebook and make them profile pictures.

The center  sponsored dozens of events throughout the month including free HIV testing in McCarthy Quad, the University Rap (URAP) confidential discussion group and the free Models of Pride youth conference featuring workshops, celebrity guests and entertainment for students, parents and educators.

The Rainbow Floor, a special interest residential community in Century Apartments for LGBTQ students and allies, has held several events and is inviting people to check out their community.

“The Rainbow Floors is for anyone who wants to come and live in a space where people have a lot in common and have that safe feeling when they come home,” said Kevin Steen, the Rainbow Floor’s resident assistant. “They don’t have to worry about their roommates bothering them about their identities or wondering if there’s going to be an awkwardness with people who don’t understand or accept their identities.”

“Our goal in October is to reach out to every person in the community,” said Linton,
“so they can have a space where they can really celebrate themselves.”

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