Students Celebrate National Coming Out Day
Thursday marked the 24th National Coming Out Day, a day where lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies celebrate coming out and encouraging the gay rights movement.
According to the website for the Human Rights Campaign, the group which organizes the annual celebration, the reason for the day sprung from the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights on Oct. 11, 1987, which had half a million participants.
The organization said the momentum created from the march inspired LGBT leaders to organize and officially create a day to celebrate and promote their cause.
The originators of the day are credited by the HRC as Rob Eichberg, a founder of the personal growth workshop, The Experience, and Jean O'Leary, a former head of the National Gay Rights Advocates.
The declared purpose of National Coming Out Day is to encourage a "safe world for LGBT individuals to live truthfully and openly," according to the HRC website.
Each year the day has a different theme, with past themes ranging from "Come Out to Congress" and "It’s a Family Affair."
This year, the theme of the day is "Come Out. Vote." as a way to promote sending a message to elected officials to declare support of LGBT equality, according to the HRC.
At USC, students publish an annual OUTlist, a list of LGBT students who have come out as well as Allies, straight identified individuals who are supportive advocates for the LGBT Community.
The list is meant to serve as a "declaration of support for the LGBT and Ally Community by students, staff, faculty and alumni in which the names of the supportive individuals are published in the Daily Trojan," according to the USC LGBT Resource Center.
The OUTlist is coordinated by the LGBT Resource Center and the Queer & Ally Student Assembly and was first created in 1990 with the goal to "promote inclusion, tolerance and acceptance for all Trojans."
USC’s Queer and Ally Student Assembly decorated Trousdale Parkway with banners to symbolize acceptance for the university LGBT community.