The Office of Multicultural Affairs will kick off OUTober 2016, a month-long coming out, sexuality and community celebration on Thursday with “Healing Through Visibility: A Coming out Day Celebration.”
The event “Healing Through Visibility: A Coming Out Day Celebration” will take place at the USU southwest terrace from noon to 1:30 p.m. It will have therapeutic exercises through painting, other arts and crafts and a drum circle hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
The LGBTQI+ Resource Center Liaison and member of Delta Lambda Phi fraternity at CSULB, Brandon Ha said he is looking forward to the event.
“The event will allow people to express themselves…be who they really are,” Ha said. “The drum circle is to spread positivity and good energy which will set the ambience for the rest of the month.”
Volunteering at the event will be Delta Lambda Phi of CSULB, who will also inform students of future fundraisers and social events with the LGBT community. According to the DLP website, they are a fraternity for gay and bisexual men and allies.
OUTober, the event-filled month was organized by Assistant Director for The Office of Multicultural Affairs Jon Higgins, with the help of several other Cal State Long Beach departments and student organizations like Rainbow Café, Queer & Allies, What’s The Tea and Safe Zone Ally.
Higgins stressed that LGBT visibility matters and the more CSULB does for the LGBTQI+ community – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and intersex – students the more CSULB validates their experiences in college.
“I myself felt ignored as a black queer male in college, my sole goal is to make sure that students, all queer students, never feel the same way,” Higgins said.
OUTober 2016 was partially organized by CSULB Student Life & Development, Beach Pride Events, CSULB Health Resource Center, Didi Hirsh Mental Health Services, Reach LA, the Department of Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies, U&CA and Dr. Benny LeMaster.
OUTober 2016 will have over 18 events, workshops, meetings and safezone trainings offered to students and the community such as the upcoming events, “After Orlando: Reflection and Progression” taking place on Oct. 10 and the “Coming Out Monologues” on Oct. 11.
“There is so much more to the community than what can be covered in a day or month, it’s providing a month-long opportunity to see every element of the community and what makes coming out so important,” Higgins said.
Psychology Major and LGBTQI+ Resource Center Student-Assistant Madonna Hanna said the goal of OUTober 2016 is to celebrate different cultures.
“Culture isn’t just where you came from — it’s your way of life. For LGBT students this is our culture,” Hanna said. “Cultures that we came from aren’t as accepting so we create our own culture here at CSULB.”
“[College] is when people start coming out and if they don’t find that support things may seem hopeless, it’s healing getting a chance to experience this and talk about things,” Hanna stated. “It builds up the community here on campus.”
“Healing Through Visibility: A Coming Out Day Celebration” event will have food and refreshments, informational booths for CSULB clubs as well as booths for the upcoming events for the rest of the OUTober celebrations.
The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach will also have a table there with information on their free services offered like health services, HIV and STI testing, career workshops, mental health counseling as well as housing and job referrals.