National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is this Thursday, October 11. You may have seen flyers around campus or information online about the many events that are going this week to celebrate this day, but what is it about, anyway?

National Coming Out Day is a day that raises awareness of gay rights, and celebrates people publicly “coming out” as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. If you don’t know what these terms mean, feel free to check out the fact sheet on the informational section on our website specifically for international students (http://lbgtrc.msu.edu/international).

This day celebrates the process of coming out, and the differences in sexual orientation and gender identity across our society. Individuals who belong to sexual and gender minorities aren’t the only ones who can come out, though—heterosexual people who support LGBT communities, or allies, can publicly claim their identity too! In this way, NCOD is for everyone who belongs to or supports the LGBT community.

The LBGT Resource Center, as well as all of the campus LGBT organizations (there are over ten different ones: http://lbgtrc.msu.edu/student-faculty-staff-and-alumni-organizations/student) have planned events all week to commemorate National Coming Out Day. You can see these on the LBGT Resource Center’s homepage, as well as a complete listing of events on our community events calendar. These events include a special speak-out opportunity and potluck at 333 East Grand River Ave. (formerly Barnes & Noble) on October 11th, where students and community members will be able to share their coming out stories and listen to others.

National Coming Out Day may only be celebrated for one week, but the LBGT Resource Center is open to help and serve all students year-round. We love to have students drop by and visit, and we’re always willing to help answer questions or provide support in any way that we can. We can connect you with student organizations, events, or support services. Our office is located in Room 302 of the Student Services building, and you can walk in at any time. You can also call us at (517) 353-9520, or send us an anonymous question through our FormSpring account (located on the homepage of our website). We also have Facebook and Twitter accounts that you can follow.

Happy National Coming Out Week, and go green!

Allegra Smith is the Program Media Assistant for the LBGT Resource Center at Michigan State University. She is a senior, double majoring in Professional Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies. In addition to working for the LBGTRC, she is also a research and an editorial assistant for Professor Amy DeRogatis in the Department of Religious Studies. Allegra is as a member of the 2012–13 MSU Homecoming Court, and enjoys promoting the “Spartan life” wherever she goes.