Campus celebrates Coming Out Day

EVENTS UND students and staff organize activities to raise awareness this month.

Students attend a panel discussion at the North Dakota GLBTQA Conference this past April. File photo.

While most celebrated National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, UND students and staff have held events throughout the month commemorating the occasion.

The GLBT Resource Center within the UND Leadership and Involvement Office organized several events throughout October, including an ally training session that will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. today in the Leadership Room of the Memorial Union.

Other events included a free Coming Out Panel luncheon in the Union’s River Valley Room  and an informational booth.

The month will end with a Halloween drag show hosted by the Ten Percent Society on Oct. 26 off campus.

Trevor Warzecha, the resource center project coordinator, said although the national day of acknowledgement was Oct. 11, the group decided to hold the events at later dates because of Homecoming events last week.

“A lot of places tend to only celebrate on Oct. 11,” Warzecha said. “But because UND was holding Homecoming that week, we decided … we would rather not be overshadowed and hold the events later this month.”

Other events

Beyond the nationally recognized month of October, the program puts on events each month in order to help students identifying who they are.

While Warzecha said September was more about getting people aware of the program, handing out pamphlets and talking at tables, he said its members will do things besides hold panels in the future.

“We only have so much time to devote and those people want to do different things,” Warzecha said. “We are trying to work with whatever is going on that month.”

Beyond those two months, Wazecha said the office focuses on topics that are recommended or asked about regularly during a period of time.

Next month it will focus on the Native American aspects.


The National Coming out Day originally was founded in 1988 by Robert Eichberg according to former project coordinator and UND student Kyle Thorson.

UND’s group was founded three years ago, and last year was the first time the office held events such as panels on a regular basis.

Thorson said the topics of panels held last year ranged from how to come out to families to what it is like to have someone come out to you. Those ran about once a month on a Thursday and averaged about 60 people at each event.

In comparison, this year about 100 people spoke with the leaders in September. The office said it expected about 50 to 60 people at each of the events this month — seeming to signify a strong interest in the events.

Thorson said despite the fact that program has only been around for only the last three years, it is a great resource and is one about three places students could go to talk about daily issues.

Other places he advises students to go for assistance includes the Ten Percent Society, and the University Counseling Center.

“Overall, it all depends what people are looking for in gaining assistance,” Thorson said.

Mathew McKay is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]