For 29 years, National Coming Out Day has been a celebration of self-expression amongst the LGBT community. This year, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, Eastern Michigan University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Resource Center (LGBTRC) celebrated in a new way: by hosting a video shoot. Though the basis came from the “I Am” campaign on campus, the LGBTRC wanted something more sustainable. They took to film, to create a piece where volunteer participants were given 15-30 seconds to respond to only two prompts. I sat down with LGBTRC Office Coordinator, Lorant Peeler to discuss the significant behind those two questions.
1 - How do you identify?
There are many identities within the LGBT community, some still emerging. Asking students where their identity lies offers a path of self-discovery and public education. However, if you’re not out per say, that’s okay. “Were open to everyone”, said Peeler. “If you’re questioning, if you’re well established, if you’re trying to figure out how to support us… you can come into this office.”
You don’t have to be out to be in the community; if you’re on your journey of coming out, or if you just want to support the community, you’re welcome. Not everyone is visible and the LGBTRC supports that. If you identify with the community, that’s enough.
2 - Why is visibility important to the queer community on campus?
As most LBGT community members don’t grow up in homosexual households, the community’s culture is passed down through its members. Peeler explains, “Being visible is one way to pass on our culture. Talking about being unified and all different things that go into being trans, being queer, all these different identities… you can’t learn that unless you have other people to talk to about that”.
Being visible means unity among community members as well. As they described, it dispels the isolating feeling of being the only person you know who thinks or feels a particular way. Through their oppression, LGBT community members can build a union.
Peeler explains, “If we're visible and we're out here and people know the issues we're facing, we're talking about the intersectionality of our community.”
The Coming Out Day video will debut at the Rainbow Variety Show on October 25th, 8-10PM, at the Student Auditorium. The event is free to attend. The Coming Out Day video is just one of many projects the LGBTRC hosts. For more information on the LGBTRC visit: or visit their office at Student Center Room 354.