October is National Coming Out Month!

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On Tuesday, October 11th at 7pm, MTV will air ‘Coming Out’, a special one-hour documentary following two young adults in the final phase of their remarkable coming out journey. The TV network, known for its list of controversial, in-your-face shows over the years, chose to air the show on the 11th as the nation celebrates National Coming Out Day.

This is the one day a year that we chose to nationally praise the LGBT community in their quest for equality. Unfortunately, this positive, uplifting event only lasts 24 hours long. One day, folks, is not enough.

Now, we recognize October as National Coming Out Month to commemorate the 11th as well as honor and remember the first ever LBGT march on Washington, which took place in 1979. As a nation, we encourage individuals to be honest, upfront and open about being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (something we should also being encouraging every day).

For all our readers, we’d like to draw attention to some interesting campus facts that help LBGT advocacy grow. In 2011, Campus Pride proudly noted that 33 schools had received a five-star rating according to the campus climate index. The number – which happily doubled from 2010 to 2011 and includes a list of more than 150 schools – scores higher education institutions according to excellence in eight areas for LGBT: policy inclusion, student life, support and institutional commitment, academic life, housing, counseling and health as well as recruitment and retention efforts.

During the month of October, the LGBT history month website celebrates the accomplishments of 31 different iconic lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals. Each day a different icon is honored and visitors to the site are invited to watch a video of the icon as well as download helpful links and resources that each individual is affiliated with.

According to the National Consortium of Directors of LGBT Resources in Higher Education, more than 187 colleges and universities proudly serve the LGBT community and offer resource centers staffed with well qualified LGBT officers.

There is, however, still much more work to be done. Statistics show that instances of violence, isolation, suicide, verbal and physical harassment as well as substance abuse are still heavy causes of concern for youth that identify as LGBT.

This month is stacked full of events for members of the LGBT community to celebrate their individuality and be proud of who they are! While some events may take place nationally throughout the month, events may also be held at your respective colleges and universities to commemorate LGBT achievements in the fight for equality. In times like these, we think Dr. Seuss said it best: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Whether or not you identify as LGBT, celebrate yourself this month and be proud of who you are!

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