The Closets Are Empty
One of the most controversial topics today is the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Questions, and any other label you give yourself. It was made to support anyone who didn’t feel accepted because of their gender or sexuality. Anyone in one of these categories or anyone who supports the lifestyles is a part of the community.
There are many students in our school that face the hardships of coming out and being ridiculed because of their sexuality or gender identity. Luckily, we have our own GSA, or Gay Straight Alliance, to unite our students regardless.
October eleventh was National Coming Out Day. Coming Out Day is a day to celebrate coming out of the closet for anyone in the LGBTQ+ community. Coming out is telling friends and family that you are gay, bi, trans, etcetera. National Coming Out Day was originated by Rob Eichberg, the founder of The Experience, and was set in 1987 under former President Ronald Reagan.
It is an important day for quite a few students at our school. Hannah Al-Roomi, sophomore, and Alexis Sobieralski, senior, are two students of Mishawaka High School affected by Coming Out Day. “Being able to realize who you are is so important, so just explore yourself and be you,” says Al-Roomi
Both Al-Roomi and Sobieralski celebrated October eleventh by reflecting on their coming out experiences and their friend’s/family’s coming out experiences. According to Sobieralski, the celebration of the day is an easier way to help people who aren’t completely comfortable with it yet to express themselves. It allows them to feel accepted, even if they aren’t quite ready to come out.
At our school, GSA celebrated by bringing in a band member of Bergamot, who “taught us about unity and shared stories about people who told her what unity means.” Maxwell Pickenpaugh, an out student at Mishawaka, says “It’s not as scary as you think as long as you have someone supporting you.”
Coming Out Stories
Alex Sobieralski: “My coming out story is a mixed bag. My family knew before I did, honestly. My father’s still a little uneasy, but he’s coming around. My friends rejected it at first, but have since grown. It’s a process.”
Hannah Al-Roomi: “My coming out story wasn’t as dramatic as others but it is quite funny. One day I was talking to my brother about LGBTQ+ related topics and … I came out to him. I felt really nervous... [My brother basically told my mom.] After two minutes of freaking out, [I told her I was gay] and my mom patted me on the back and continued to eat dinner.”