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Saturday, May 25, 2024

LGBT celebrates National Coming Out Day with shirts, photo

Nora Spencer hopes the UF campus will be buzzing with students sporting orange and blue T-shirts that read "Gay? Fine by me" today.

Spencer, director of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs, said LGBT students and allies will gather on Turlington Plaza at noon for a group photo to commemorate National Coming Out Day.

More than 300 T-shirts have been sold for ,5 each since 2006, Spencer said. She hopes to have 100 people participate in the photo.

It will be the second annual group photo with the T-shirts. About 50 to 60 students participated in the photo in 2006, she said.

Even though T-shirts are encouraged, those who do not have one are still invited to join the photograph, Spencer said.

Members of the Multicultural Greek Council thought of the T-shirts to prompt more student questions about LGBT issues, she said.

Students will also have a chance to simulate coming out with their identity by walking through a door set up on the plaza.

Some people may actually come out for the first time by stepping through the door, but the majority of people want to symbolically recreate that experience, said Evan Lauteria, a UF religion major and student intern for LGBT Affairs.

Lauteria hopes outreach efforts in the community will help make people more aware and educated about LGBT issues.

"Tolerance is really not the same as being accepting and embracing of people," he said.

"This is just one day, but being an ally is a 24/7 deal. It doesn't just stop after wearing your shirt one day."

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