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LGBT community speaks on identity

National Coming Out Week was celebrated for the second year at Cal State Long Beach along Friendship Walk last week, with a peak in the festivities on Thursday, National Coming Out Day.

Kirstyn Yuk Sim Chun, Psy. D., from Counseling and Psychological Services, organized the event and is deeply involved with the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community on campus.

“I am so grateful to work at a university where our LGBT and ally students feel safe coming out over a loudspeaker on Friendship Walk in the middle of the day with huge rainbow flags waving in the background,” Chun said.

Elizabeth Meter and Salvador Hernandez, both students at CSULB and members of LGBT, opened the Thursday events with words of acceptance to the audience. Hernandez called himself an ungender-identified person, saying, “It’s OK to be who you are and say who you are.”

D’Lo, a political theatre artist, writer and music producer, performed in the afternoon on stage near the Friendship Walk. D’Lo is a gay Tamil Sri Lankan-American and spoke to the audience about what it is like to be different.

She started her rap-style speech by saying, “I feel very, very blessed to be here,” and that God has given her the opportunities and the abilities to speak her beliefs and stand up for them. Her poems discussed freedom and equality for everyone in society, and urged the need for change: “The true revolutionaries are the ones who are nicest. Humility with sacrifices, I’m pouring out my heart so you might just see where we all may united.”

D’Lo’s performance was followed by an open-mic session, where students were invited to express opinions and personal experiences with “coming out of the closet.”

The Friendship Walk was also filled with other representatives of community and school resource centers, including the Women’s Resource Center, Asian-American Drug Abuse Program and Student Health Services.

The Human Rights Campaign participated in the event as well, and representatives passed out informational brochures and stickers that read “get equal.”

According to the HRC, “This year is an important hallmark, as National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, 2007, falls on the 20th anniversary of the 1987 Gay and Lesbian March on Washington, and the unfurling of the AIDS Quilt on the National Mall.”

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