The University of Tennessee is recognized as one of the top schools in the nation for academics, athletics and more, but ranks as one of the three most LGBTQ+ unfriendly campuses according to Princeton Review. However, every year, the nation recognizes National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 in order to provide a day and a space for LGBTQ+ folks to voice their opinions, experiences and triumphs.
National Coming Out Day marks the anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in 1987. The event came to fruition to show citizens of the United States that, even if they thought they didn’t, they knew someone who was on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, one out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian, while for transgender people, that number is one in 10. National Coming Out Day is a reclamation of the power that coming out holds, and it’s a testament to the tenacity that the LGBTQ+ community holds within their own right to identify themselves.
Here’s a few things going on in Knoxville on Oct. 11 in honor of this holiday.
I Sing Out - National Coming Out Day Concert
Located at 803 South Gay Street and featuring the Tony-award winning and East Tennessee-native Levi Kreis, “I Sing Out” is an event that will be held at the Bijou Theatre on Oct. 11th at 7:00 PM. Organized by the Knoxville Gay Men’s Chorus, “I Sing Out” will feature Kreis performing Broadway favorites as well as his personal story of coming out and his rise to Broadway stardom. All proceeds from this event will be donated to local LGBTQ+ youth organizations.
For more information on I Sing Out, here is the website.
Pride Center’s National Coming Out Day Ice Cream Social
UT’s very own Pride Center is hosting a National Coming Out Day Ice Cream Social at the Strong Hall Atrium. Stop by for delicious ice cream and conversation with all involved with the LGBTQ+ community. The event will run for two hours, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
If, however, you do not identify as LGBTQ+, never fear; all of these events are open to anyone who believes that LGBTQ+ people should be free to be exactly who they are, not what is expected of them, including members of the community, campus partners, supportive allies, and more.