STORY BY JASON GREEN, STAFF WRITER
PHOTOS BY SUNDOS ABOASSI, YEONJUNG GOO, WESLEY BOWLER, EFRAIN RODRIGUEZ GARCIA, KARLA PINEDA CARREON
Cypress College hosted its sixth annual National Coming Out day celebration at the Cypress College Breezeway this afternoon amid safety concerns regarding off-campus observers.
Coming out day is an annual event that supports equality and those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Several programs, clubs and organizations such as the LGBTQ Center Orange County, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Library & Learning Resource Center, members of the Pride Center and Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) at Cypress and Alianza Translainx collaborated to create the event.
There was a concern about safety during the event from people not associated with the campus due to recent pursuits on students.
LGBTQ+ Liaison, Jenelle Herman stated that “We are in Orange County, so you never know who might show up at an event,” and further discussed that, “every time we do an event, we partner closely with Associated Students and campus safety.”
Herman also said that there are administrators present at such events “just in case someone does show signs of being harmful or problematic.”
There were many activities like face painting, and booths providing information about their group. The LGBTQ Center OC had a spinning wheel for people to participate in after signing their survey about nicotine and vaping. The Pride Center provided some LGBTQ+ resources such as changing a person’s name for students.
Several students wore trans flags in their pockets or on top of their heads to show pride in their identity.
A clothing swap booth, provided by the Pride Center, had clothes for students to take and has been establishing a gender affirming closet that will continue past National Coming Out Day.
Ash Hartwig, President of QSA and first-year engineering student, said “Coming Out Day is important because it gives an opportunity for people who may not be out at home, to celebrate who they are in a safe space where nobody’s gonna judge them.”
The event displayed a door for the event, which can be used for people to metaphorically “come out”. In addition, a board with LGBTQ prompts on it, gave students the chance to express themselves by writing out their thoughts with sticky notes.
For those who are still closeted, first-year mortuary science major, Anastasia Boxley said “I know it can be very hard, but once you find a community that will support you, it makes it a lot easier”.
“You don’t have to be out to be queer,” said Herman.
Chief of Campus Safety Craig Lee said “if they [off campus observers] want to express their opinions and all kinds of stuff, they’re more than welcome to, [but]“at the same time, they can’t be aggressive to anybody.” There were some off-campus observers near the event, but they had no interaction within the event.
Cypress College’s first ever Pride Game will take place on the soccer field on Tuesday, Oct. 24 between 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm. Those in attendance are encouraged to wear rainbow and Cypress gear to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community while supporting the women’s soccer team