Come out for pride

A week full of festivities for Pipers to celebrate Hamline’s pride.

Audra Grigus, Reporter

Hamline celebrated Coming Out Week with a multitude of events put on by Spectrum and the Sexualities and Gender Diversity Initiatives.

The week began with an LGBT History Month Kick-Off Dinner on Oct. 1 in Anderson. Sexuality and Gender Diversity Initiatives Assistant Programmer, sophomore K McClendon, presented a powerpoint that highlighted a handful of the LGBT icons that are being celebrated this month such as Adam Rippon, Rachel Levine, Sandro Botticelli and the rainbow flag designer himself, Gilbert Baker.

As a leader on campus and in Hamline’s own LGBTQIA+ community, McClendon takes great pride in helping others find people within the community that they can network with and relate to.

“I lived most of my life being afraid to be called gay before I was actually comfortable coming out and realizing what was comfortable to call myself and what my identity was. Being able to now, not only celebrate it, but be able to help other people celebrate it too is super special and important,” McClendon said. “I am very proud of my identity.”

McClendon is not the only one who was feeling proud of who they are this past week; first-year Mavyn Howard shared their excitement for the events occuring on campus.

“I’m really excited about Coming-Out Week and all the events relating to it. This is the first time and the first environment that I have felt comfortable being out and I’ve made friends in this community already,” Howard said.

Coming Out Week provided plenty of opportunities to continue building up that community. On Wednesday Oct. 3, there was an LGBTQIA+ Faculty and Staff Brown Bag Lunch event where students had the opportunity to mingle and connect.

A Queer Sex Ed session took place later in the day in Anderson, which provided useful sex information for queer and trans students who may not have had their questions answered in a high school sex education setting.

Later in the week, Transform held a meeting to provide a space for students to discuss being trans* identified or questioning one’s gender identity or expression. This group meets regularly on the first and third Thursday of the month from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. If interested in joining or have any questions contact Sexualities & Gender Diversity Programs Director and Deputy Title IX Coordinator t.aaron hans.

First-year DJ Brown expressed his own gratitude towards Hamline dedicating an entire week to a wide range of coming-out festivities, as well as having immediate resources available all the time on campus.

“There are so many people out there in this world who identify in the LGBT community but they just don’t feel confident enough to come out and to explore more about the LGBT community,” Brown said. “Here they have the opportunity to be able to be more confident in who they are and to be able to come out and explore their personality and their identity more and be comfortable.”

Extending past Coming Out Week, National Coming Out Day is celebrated on Oct. 11 with a day full of events starting with a Coming Out Day Photoshoot in Anderson Forum.

Later in the evening, McClendon organized for keynote speaker Britteney Black Rose Kapri to come in and talk about her new poetry book Black Queer Hoe, which will be followed up by the Coming Out Day Vigil, which gives students the opportunity to share their own coming-out stories within a student-only space.

Spectrum intended to put on a Professional Drag Show on Friday Oct. 5 but is postponing it for Oct. 8.