U Albany students come out to support LGBT community

Many students, groups, and community members came out to support the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community by attending the third annual coming OUT reception. The event which took place on October 18th coincides with October being LGBT history month.

The coming OUT reception focused on the struggles that many LGBT people have when coming out and how to overcome them. The organizer of the event, Emma Suarez, talked a lot about her fears of coming out.

“When I thought about coming out I thought two things would happen, either everyone would be happy and I would get a cake or I would lose everything I have,” Suarez said “There are people who come out and lose everything.”

The guest speaker at this event was Alicia Ortiz, a musician and local advocate for LGBT rights. Ortiz performed several songs and poems that dealt with issues such as finding and accepting ourselves, the struggles of same sex couples, not judging people, and even immigration issues.

“I want to know myself spiritually, mentally, creatively, completely,” Said Ortiz in one of her poems. “I am more than what I’ve been shown to be.”

Ortiz used a lot of her music to bring the crowd together as one common group united under one common purpose. She asked the crowd to sing certain lines with her and snap their fingers to certain beats.

“We are everything we are meant to be, we are endless love, creativity.” Sang the entire crowd when Ortiz pointed to them.

One point that was focused on by many speakers was the use of using many different tools to educate people on the LGBT community.

“I use the fact that I’m large and in charge to be an educator,” said Amanda Stevens, a male to female transgender.

Another point that was emphasized at the event was the difference between a person coming out and a person being out.

“There is a difference between coming out and being out,” said Samantha Alpino. “Being out is when you make your sexuality become a normal part of your everyday life.”

Alpino also talked about labels and how she wants her sexuality to be perceived. Alpino considers herself a Pansexual, a term which means that gender holds no bearing in what she looks for in a partner. “As complex as it sounds it’s as simple as it gets,” Alpino said.

Even though everyone in the ballroom that night had different ideas, different stories, and were different people you could feel the sense of community in the room. It didn’t matter if you were gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, pansexual, or an ally, you could feel the feeling of being united as a group with a common goal.


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