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Coming Out Week to welcome LGBT students, bring awareness to campus

By Josh Fabel 

Coming Out Week will be hosted this week, beginning Oct. 4 and ending on Oct. 9. The event has always been an exciting period of time during the year leading up to National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Put on by students in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community, the week filled with educational and inspiring events will be sure to spark the interests of many.

The week will officially start off with the raising of the pride flag on the mall. This event has usually been one of the more popular ones during the week. According to Meredith Hassenrik, graduate assistant of the Rainbow Resource Center (RRC), Robert Dana, vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students at the university, will speak at the flag raising, as he has done in previous years.

After the flag raising, the remainder of the week will continue to feature interactive events such as a showing of the film “Pariah” on Oct. 6. The film is about a coming out story of an LGBTQ youth in the Bronx, N. Y.

There will also be a Trans 101 presentation on Oct. 7, which will focus on the Transgender community and how to be an ally.

An LGBTea Party, which is part of a discussion series that has been ongoing this semester, is another event occurring during Coming Out Week.

“We’re continuing our LGBTea party series which is every other Wednesday. We come together and talk about a specific topic within the community. So far this year we have talked about gay marriage becoming legal and what that means for activism within the community,” Hassenrik said. “We have talked about the LGBTQ alphabet, we will be talking about coming out during Coming Out Week.  We talk about all different things like religion and race, and what those things mean for folks within the community. So that is something to keep an eye out for.”

Coming Out Week and the many events it hosts each year greatly impact the student population and faculty at the university. Hassenrik is always shocked at the amazing ability students have in setting up such a profound string of events.

“I am looking forward to seeing the students do things. I don’t plan Coming Out week, the students do. I always look forward to seeing them succeed,” Hassenrik said.

Member of Wilde-Stein, Russell Fascione, talked about what Coming Out Week has done for him and how it has positively affected him and the rest of the LGBTQ community.

“[Coming Out Week] helps create positive conversations around the LGBTQ community. It helps people find a supportive group of friends,” Fascione said.

Fascione will even be participating in this year’s Drag Race on the Mall, which will be sponsored by Wilde Stein.

Coming Out Week will be hosting 10 different events this between Oct. 5 and Oct. 9.  Some popular ones to note include the raising of the Pride Flag on the Mall on Monday; a Drag Race sponsored by Wilde-Stein on Wednesday; and Gayme Night with Wilde-Stein on Thursday. For more information on all the different events, be sure to head down to the RRC in the Memorial Union.

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