UW-Eau Claire celebrates "National Coming Out Day" - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW-Eau Claire celebrates "National Coming Out Day"

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - On Wednesday, people at UW-Eau Claire were given the chance to come together and come out.

For six years, the campus has celebrated "National Coming Out Day" on October 11. Folks were invited to share their coming out stories on stage, or simply explore resources at booths set up by organizations from around the community. 

Organizers said it's important to take the time to celebrate the campus' diverse population because it wasn't that long ago that coming out wasn't seen as a cause for celebration. 

"You never know how people are going to react to who you are," said Christopher Jorgenson, the director of UW-Eau Claire's Gender & Sexuality Resource Center. "So, coming out takes courage each and every time you choose to be honest about who you are. So, we just want to create as many inclusive spaces, so that when people do reflect who they are as an individual and as a LGBTQIA+ person, they are met with inclusion and acceptance." 

Still Jorgenson told News 18 he believes things keep improving as time goes on. 

"As a country we've been going one direction, and that is in greater acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people," he said. "So what we aim to do is to both recognize our histories from where we've come and to acknowledge that our progress is not inevitable." 

Some students on campus think the country's changing attitude about sexuality has a lot to do with younger generations coming of age. 

"I think that with the newer generations it's a lot easier because the newer generations are just immediately more accepting. And that makes it a more comfortable environment," UWEC student Devin Dawson told News 18. 

Though they know the fight against the "cis-tem" isn't over yet. 

"We still have to fight for bathroom rights, that has not changed. We still have to fight for ending conversion therapy," Dawson said. "We still have to fight for getting our birth certificates appropriately labeled. We still have to fight for our surgeries, we have to fight for -- anything that we want, we have to fight for." 

Dawson is leading the fight to end conversion therapy in Wisconsin. For more information about the battle, Dawson can be contacted at dawsond@uwec.edu. 

Still on Wednesday, the fight was put on hold for a little celebration. 

"We don't just accept them," Jorgenson said, "we celebrate who they are." 

On top of "National Coming Out Day," UW-Eau Claire kicked off its 8th annual Eau Queer Film Festival. For more information, click here

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