Parkland College celebrates National Coming Out Day
Published: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012 17:10
On Thursday, Parkland Pride, a student-run organization, and the staff-run Ally Team held an event for National Coming Out Day for Parkland College.
According to the event’s organizers, The Human Rights Campaign, National Coming Out Day is “an internationally observed civil awareness day celebrating individuals who publicly identify as bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender.”
Celebrated since 1988, National Coming Out Day is held each year on October 11. The Human Rights Campaign chose this day to honor the anniversary of the famous 1988 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. During the march, thousands of men and women took to the streets of Washington to support LGBT rights.
Each year, the event has a theme based on a current trend. The Human Rights Campaign does this in order to preserve the spirit of the event. This year’s theme is called “Come Out, Vote,” and is based around the current presidential election.
Tanino Minneci, staff advisor of Parkland Pride, and a member of the Ally Team, was one of many who help put the event together for Parkland.
“Today, it is a day for LGBT individuals to celebrate living truthfully and openly and for their straight allies to show their support,” said Erin Wilding-Martin, a member of the Parkland Ally Team.
“Unlike some of the other events that are throughout the year where we do some more serious outreach, this is more of a celebration, and it’s a really fun way for the students to show their pride here at Parkland College, to show support for each other, and to try to get more awareness among Parkland faculty and staff and students about Parkland Pride,” she continued.
Dimitri Prince, Business major and member of Parkland Pride, also helped out. He explained his thoughts about the event, saying, “The goal pretty much was to just be yourself and accept who you are.”
According to Minneci, the student-run organization has experienced several name changes since its founding in the early 90s. First called “Colors,” the group became “Parkland Pride” last year after years of being known as “Queer and Ally.”
“The students decided that we were going to rename the group, rebrand it and call it ‘Parkland Pride.’ Everybody felt like it was a much more representative name for the group,” Minneci explained. “The group focuses every year on building community among students here at Parkland that identify as LGBT and allies of LGBT issues. It gives them a safe place to meet and have fun, do activities and events and also raise awareness here at Parkland College.”
The Ally Team has a similar mission.
Minneci described their goals, stating, “It’s our mission to bring more awareness to Parkland College about LGBT issues, so we like to bring speakers on to campus and do things like the SafeZone Training to train other people at the college to be more sensitive to LGBT issues. And it’s also another sort of social way for LGBT and allies staff and faculty to get together and have events and do fun things together.”
Wilding-Martin stated, “I first heard about the Ally Team when I started working at Parkland, and they offered the Ally Training as part of Respectful Workplace training offered by Human Resources. I joined after taking the training, and became more involved over the years.”
For more information about National Coming Out Day, visit the Human Rights Campaign website at www.hrc.org.