CORTLAND, N.Y. — Thursday, Oct. 11, was National Coming Out Day, and the SUNY Cortland campus celebrated the day by having a tabling event in the refurbished Corey Union.
Members of the student-run Pride Club and SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression) committee crafted an inviting and colorful space, including a standalone door for people to “come out” of; whether it was as a member of the LGBTQIA+ or as an ally, everyone was welcome to partake in what the day had to offer.
“Any person can walk through that door, and we’ll all still clap for them” said Lauren Scagnelli, participating member of the day’s event.
The goal for this event was to bring awareness to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity by opening up the conversation to the college community, and to encourage those who are unaware of the different identities and sexualities to ask questions.
“For those who don't quite understand certain sexualities but want to learn and be aware, we are always patient and more than willing to explain so that they do understand,” said Gloria Benitez, a member of the Pride Club.
Buttons and rainbow accessories were given out to students as a way of declaring their support of the LGBTQIA+ community, either as a member or an ally.
“We are letting people feel free to be themselves and embrace who they are, whether or not they are on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum or just an ally,” Benitez said.
SUNY Cortland has set the standard for inclusion on its campus. Orientation for incoming students begins with an introductory session where returning students give their name and preferred pronouns—starting the conversation on inclusiveness before students even attend their first class.
The SOGIE committee is another tactic used to promote diversity and inclusion. Apart from SUNY Cortland’s Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Plan, SOGIE aims to foster a safe and positive environment for the LGBTQIA+ community through social and educational events intended to cultivate positive attitudes towards sexual and gender-related issues.