Campus News

Students share coming out stories on national LGBT awareness day

In light of LGBT History Month, students reflect on their coming out experiences.

In light of National Coming Out Day, UW-Madison students reflect on their coming out experience, describing their identities as journies.

On October 11, people around the world celebrate the day of LGBT awareness. The day, which falls during LGBT History Month, was originally celebrated in 1988 to highlight feminist and gay liberation.

People around campus may come out to families and friends, embarking on what students like Molly Davis say is a “journey,” and others emphasize requires support.

UW-Madison student Molly Davis highlighted identity as a changing idea that isn’t easily found.

“When people talk about their identity, they say it takes them a long time to find their home in a named identity,” Davis said. “I feel like I'm still on that journey. But a part of me wants to wait to figure out where my home is with my identity so I can articulate it well to others.”

When asking if there was a specific time or place that she discovered her sexuality, she said, “It was in the works for a really long time, I was just able to open up to the idea, … instead of just brushing it off and not really addressing it.”

Davis also discussed the hardships involved with her coming out experience, explaining the expectations and implications of defining oneself to others.

“You're always gonna get people that ask you to put yourself in a box and quickly define yourself,” she said. “All I really need to know is who I am and it doesn't matter what word I choose to describe who I am.”

Another UW-Madison student, who wished to remain anonymous, explained her experience with coming out and described her hesitation at the beginning of her journey.

“The biggest thing was worrying that people would see me and treat me differently, which terrified me because I didn’t see myself differently, but society can be harsh,” she said.

In an effort to provide a comfortable environment for students’ coming out experience, University Health Services provides services to diverse groups of people, ensuring inclusion to the wide range of people at UW-Madison.

“We recognize and acknowledge that implicit bias, oppression, discrimination, prejudice, and inequitable systems of power and privilege impact our campus community,” UHS’ Diversity and Inclusion Statement said.

UHS also provides transgender health services, and allows students to contact specific services through their website depending on their circumstances.

With the diverse group of people at UW-Madison who have experienced hardships, UHS is determined to provide accessible services to those in need of help.

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