Coming Out Week encourages students to embrace gender identities

Jodi Abazoski and Jodi Abazoski

LGBTQ resource center, Vision, hosted Coming Out Week with the help of many other student organizations.

Coming Out Day is a nationally-recognized day that takes place on Oct. 11. Every year, Vision shows its support to the day with Coming Out Week.

“Usually we have an event on Coming Out Day, but since it fell during fall break this year, we had our first event on Monday,” said Luke Grabski, president of Vision.

This past Monday, Vision set up a Coming Out Day doorway in the Union Oval where students of any identification could walk through and come out as whatever they wanted to.

Grabski said that one of the goals of Vison is to raise awareness about Coming Out Day and to let people in the LGBTQ community know that there is a place for them as a support system.

He said he, like most people who come out, had a unique coming out experience, or in Grabski’s case, experiences.

“I’ve actually had a lot of different coming out experiences because I’ve cycled through a lot of different identities,” he said. “Coming out as transgender was the hardest and I’m actually still going through that coming out process … I have to come out to every single person that I meet and it’s really difficult honestly because you never know what people are going to say.”

Grabski has found that most people have been okay with him being transgender, though he had problems with his mother accepting it. Still, Luke and Vision want to act as resources for people who have questions about the LGBTQ community.

There have been a number of other things Vision planned, including a keynote speaker on Tuesday, Kye Allums, the first transgender player in the NCAA.

Amy Finklebine, vice president of Vision learned to not get too involved with the importance of labeling and identifying from Allums.

“I got to hang out with the speaker, Kye, for a little bit in between his events,” said Amy Finklebine. “One quote that I did take from his workshop is that he doesn’t like to refer to a process as transitioning because life is a transition, and that really stuck out to me that we are constantly changing and evolving who we are.”

One of the student organizations that has been involved in various aspects of Coming Out Week is the Multicultural Greek Council. The council’s president, Jeff Devereuax, hosted a discussion on ways to make greek life a more safe and inviting place for the LGBTQ community.

“Greek chapters and any organization in general needs to be a safe place for our LGBT members,” Devereuax said.

The Multicultural Greek council is the governing group for six greek chapters on campus with the goal to create a more inclusive environment. Devereuax is a member of Delta Lamda Phi which is a “gay, bisexual, progressive, and trans fraternity.”

“As a gay man, obviously I personally support the gay community, but I wanted to figure out how (the Multicultural Greek Council) as an organization could support it,” he said.

There are more events coming up this weekend to wrap up Coming Out Week. There will be “Not So Straight Skate” event this Saturday that is open to the public.

Vision is also putting on a scavenger hunt with the clues found on their Facebook page.

“The point of the scavenger hunt is to bring people to different offices that are resources on campus,” Finklebine said.