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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Students show pride for National Coming Out Day

<p>Logan Stallings, a 20-year-old psychology major, stands under a rainbow-colored balloon arch on the Plaza of the Americas Tuesday, identifying with both gender-queer and pansexual sexualities on National Coming Out Day. See story, page 4.</p>

Logan Stallings, a 20-year-old psychology major, stands under a rainbow-colored balloon arch on the Plaza of the Americas Tuesday, identifying with both gender-queer and pansexual sexualities on National Coming Out Day. See story, page 4.

Each sign looked the same. Big, black, bold letters held by students and faculty reading one of the following: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, ally, asexual or pansexual.

Although they looked simple, these signs represented the complexity of coming out.

To celebrate National Coming Out Day, UF's Pride Student Union and LGBT Affairs set up information tables and a rainbow balloon arch on the Plaza of the Americas Tuesday afternoon.

The representatives encouraged students to ask questions and be photographed under the rainbow arch while holding a sign denoting their sexual identities.

Lauren Hannahs, director of LGBT Affairs at UF, said some institutions host week- and month-long celebrations.

National Coming Out Day began in 1988, Hannahs said.

"It's all about raising visibility, spreading the word and trying to make a more affirming, supportive campus climate," Hannahs said.

Bridget Siegel, 19, the external vice president of PSU, said coming out is a continuous process with multiple phases.

Siegel, a religious studies sophomore, said she hopes one day people of the LGBT community will be seen first for who they are instead of for their sexual orientation.

She said she still thinks National Coming Out Day is something to celebrate until that period of acceptance comes.

Pride History Week will last from Oct. 17 through Oct. 22, said 18-year-old Andrew Brennick, the assistant director of the week's events.

Each day will feature skits about different gender expressions from history and a guest speaker on the history of transgenders, he said.

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The week will conclude with a gay pride gathering downtown.

People do not have to be a part of PSU to participate in the week's festivities. Brennick said all sexual orientations are welcome.

Logan Stallings, a 20-year-old psychology major, stands under a rainbow-colored balloon arch on the Plaza of the Americas Tuesday, identifying with both gender-queer and pansexual sexualities on National Coming Out Day. See story, page 4.

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