October 11 is National Coming Out Day, a special day for people who are part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer communities. Coming out is not easy for the LGBTQ community and is often times a topic that individuals have to deal with on a daily basis. National Coming Out Day brings an opportunity to celebrate those who have come out against, sometimes, great odds.

Danny Mathews, a specialist in Diversity Advocacy says, “Recognition and discussion of National Coming Out Day is important because it lets those who may be struggling with aspects of their identity know there is a community of support here on campus.”

In addition to recognizing National Coming Out Day, Illinois State University also has a Pride group. Pride is a student group which strives to provide a safe social and educational atmosphere for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer individuals on campus.

Sophomore Lucas Stiegman states, “Having a support system on campus, whether it be a Pride group, counseling services, friends, family, LGBT classes, or even Safe Zones, give those who may struggle with their gender identity or sexuality a feeling of validation and security.”

Visit Pride’s Facebook page on October 11 to learn more about National Coming Out Day and to hear other Illinois State students share their coming out stories.

Megan Snodsmith was a contributor to this article.