LGBT Center Celebrates Annual Out and Proud Week

UCSD’s Out and Proud Week 2015, sponsored by the LGBT Resource Center, began on Monday and will continue through the week with  festivities and events aimed at promoting community for LGBT-identified students, staff and faculty.

Out and Proud Week is also intended to examine and challenge the modern-day narratives of “coming out,” which the event describes as a difficult experience for many individuals.

“Coming out is not a single action and is different around sexuality and gender identities and expressions, and for many, coming out and expressions of pride may not be safe,” the event’s website said. “We appreciatively challenge what being Out and Proud means and honor the diversity within our community.”

Throughout the week, the LGBT Resource Center is tabling on Library Walk between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. under a balloon arch, which sports new colors every day. 

Out and Proud Week kicked off with a brown bag lunch on Library Walk, re-enacting the UCSD LGBT community’s response to a preacher’s hateful anti-homosexuality sermon during Out and Proud Week 2004. After the preacher delivered his sermon directly in front of the LGBTQIA tent and balloon arch, the LGBT community gathered in front of the bookstore on Library Walk and ate brown bag lunches to demonstrate solidarity.

Following this year’s brown bag lunch, the LGBT Resource Center held a generational dialogue in which two publicly LGBT-identified UCSD professors — ecology, behavior and evolution Chair James Nieh and dance professor Eric Geiger — informed students about their experiences of coming out.

“We wanted to open up a dialogue between students and faculty because there is a generation gap,” Sixth College freshman Kelsey Lyons told the UCSD Guardian. “Coming out and being LGBT-identified are different experiences during different generations.”

LGBTQIA Living Learning Community RA Matt Jaconetta, who organized the event with Lyons, thinks that this event is important because there is an unfortunate disconnect in the LGBT community between the elders and the youth.

“There’s not a lot of connection between the generations in the LGBT community and I think that’s very counterintuitive to progress,” Jaconetta said. “We should [learn from] the older generation’s failings and triumphs to really understand how we can progress and how we can impact our future in a positive way.” 

The professors also provided their perspectives on what it is like to be “out” in the professional world, which Jaconetta finds to be a large concern as he moves forward in his career.

“It’s very difficult and tough for me when I think about being out in the professional realm,” Jaconetta said. “I personally have a lot of questions for people who are currently out in the professional realm and what their experiences have been in coming out.”

On Tuesday, the LGBT community collectively traveled to and painted over the murals at UCSD’s Graffiti Art Park. They then hosted a game show at Sixth College Lodge, testing students’ knowledge about LGBTQIA history and current events. 

The LGBT Resource Center will continue to hold many more events throughout the week, such as an LGBTQIA graduate student game day today, a keynote speech by poet and activist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on Friday and a drag show finale on Saturday.