On Monday, Oct. 11, the GLBT Center partnered with the Poole College of Management and other campus organizations to host NC State’s first National Coming Out Day Pride Walk as part of GLBT History Month festivities.
The event began with attendees creating vibrant signs in Stafford Commons, making their way to the Free Expression Tunnel before stopping at Nelson Hall for a lively rally with the Poole College of Management. Participants then walked to Wolf Plaza for the opportunity to grab swag bags and receive resources and support from campus and community allies and advocates.
According to Andy DeRoin, the assistant director for the GLBT Center, the event was a chance for those who identify as LGBTQ+ to be visible on campus, as well as for allies and advocates to show their support.
“It’s also for those who are still feeling like NC State may or may not be the right place for them,” DeRoin said. “Seeing an event like this would be one step in the right direction.”
Tayah Butler, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Poole College of Management, explained that she wanted attendees to celebrate and spread as much joy and pride as possible, especially in the midst of such hard times.
“From what I hear from my friends and family members who do identify, it's hard to constantly be minimized or erased from the community,” Butler said. “It's important for those of us who are part of the majority and part of our positions on this campus to take the moment to center, highlight and be in support of the [LGBTQ+] community.”
Caroline Heaphy, a second-year studying meteorology, said that she had heard about the event through Instagram, and wanted to meet other people in the LGBTQ+ community.
“I know personally, I haven't met many queer people here yet, and I've been here for like two months,” Heaphy said. “I think it's really important to meet people who are like you and know that you're not alone. “
Of course, the National Coming Out Day Pride Walk is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to GLBT History Month events. This Wednesday, the GLBT Center and the Women’s Center will host Love Your Body Day, an opportunity for students to discuss body representation in the media, featuring keynote speaker Lachlan Watson, who played Theo Putnam in the Netflix series “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.”
“Later this month, we're going to have a film screening of ‘Cured,’ a movie about the activism surrounding getting homosexuality removed from the DSM, and kind of what it took to make that happen,” DeRoin said. “But hopefully, later in the semester, we'll also have some sort of send-off before the holidays because we know folks are more likely to be going home to unaccepting family.”
Hallie Sly, a third-year studying communication and a student intern at the GLBT Center, said finding the GLBT Center has been one of the best things about coming to NC State.
“I was really nervous freshman year, but now I'm working here and it's just completely changed my entire mindset, I've made so many friends and I've met so many people,” Sly said. “Events like this, especially when you get to help with the planning are so much fun, and you can really see the difference you're making and making people feeling.”
Students that identify as LGBTQ+ are able to join student organizations tied to the GLBT Center, such as the GLBTCA, QTPOC and AcePack. These student organizations provide a way for students of all backgrounds to find safe and supportive spaces through educational and social activities.