QSU brings awareness to National Coming Out Day

The Stoll Room in the Sawyer building was decorated with lavender tablecloths, balloons and lights. Both the Chicago Pride Flag, which features six colors of the rainbow as well as black and brown, and the Transgender Pride Flag were on display for Suffolk University’s Queer Student Union (QSU)’s celebration of  this year’s National Coming Out Day Luncheon. 

“[The color] lavender represents queerness in its entirety,” said Vice President of QSU Gina Maffei in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. “It’s different from the rainbow flag in that there are always elements of the rainbow that are missing from the rainbow flag, but lavender is kind of that overarching color for queers.”

The luncheon also featured performances by the Suffolk acapella group Soulfully Versed, who performed a cover of “Dancing on My Own” by Robyn. Vice President of Unspoken Feelings Ruth Christmas read an untitled poem she described as an “Ode .” 

Assistant Dean of Students Danelle Berube spoke about her struggle growing up in a small town and not being able to find an adult to look up to, which is what inspired her to speak to the students and faculty that attended the luncheon.

Phoebe Adams
Soulfully Versed performs at the Queer Student Union’s National Coming Out Day’s Luncheon

“[I was] looking around me for adults who identified as LGBTQ+ and how I would have benefited had I been able to find more of them earlier,” said Berube in an interview with The Journal.

Also in attendance was President Marisa Kelly, who spoke on how much the event meant to her as a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself. 

“One way or another, I always try to support the event as I try to support student events in general,” said Kelly in an interview with The Journal. “Especially those that broadly align with diversity and inclusion. I have spoken here a couple of times myself and I think it’s a great event to send a message to our students no matter what their background, interest or orientation that the Suffolk community embraces them, so what better way to do that than being here.”

Adriana Cano and David Roche, both sophomores and general members of QSU, agreed with Kelly’s message of supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

“It’s important as a community to have events like this because everybody wants to support the LGBTQ+ community,” said Cano in an interview with The Journal. “But actually having events where students and faculty share their stories just makes it so much more personal to the community.” 

“I felt like everyone’s stories were personal but also resonated,” said Roche in an interview with The Journal. “It felt nice. It was uplifting, positive stories.”

National Coming Out Day is observed annually on Oct. 11, but the luncheon hasn’t always been associated with National Coming Out Day. The change came this year, when QSU made the decision to rename the event from Spirit Day Luncheon. 

However, QSU hasn’t gotten rid of Spirit Day altogether, choosing instead to celebrate it in April. Suffolk celebrates LGBTQ+ Pride Month during April, since school is out of session in June.

While the event was a celebration of a life-changing day for many members of the LGBTQ+ community, it was also a chance to educate and inform attendees of an on-going issue that still persists today.

Phoebe Adams
Kaitlin Hahn, President of Suffolk University’s QSU

QSU President Kaitlin Hahn, who holds both she/her and they/them pronouns, spoke about the three cases currently in the Supreme Court that deal with the question of discrimination in jobs with both sexual orientation and gender, specifically within the LGBTQ+ community. 

“The ruling on these cases, could potentially gut existing protections against LGBTQ+ people and set a precedent of approval of bigotry against LGBTQ+ people,” said Hahn to attendees. 

Hahn ended the ceremony with a reminder to attendees to reflect on the overall purpose of celebrating National Coming Out Day.

“I hope the luncheon today can remind everyone that even if you aren’t out, have been out for awhile, or what[ever] your story is, this is your day too.”