Humber students celebrated their rights as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender on National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11.
The LGBTQ+ community supported the day for more than 28 years as a time to encourage and support those who are proud of their sexuality.
Social media has played a big role in helping promote the National Coming Out Day hashtag. The discussion online has given allies of the LGBTQ+ community an invitation to show their support for those wanting to open up.
Christopher Karas, a Humber student and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, said people shouldn’t feel obligated to come out on a specific day.
“National Coming Out Day has been a movement for a while now,” he said. “Although, it’s really important for people to know that we don’t have a responsibility to come out.
“Coming out is different for everybody and people should be able to do that if they want to and feel the safest to do so, not because of a certain day.”
Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have been platforms for people to express who they are and what they want to share with the world. Karas said he’s thankful that social media has been giving people a voice, especially for the LGBTQ+ community.
“We’re in an environment that’s much safer than let’s say 20 or more years ago,” he said. “It’s encouraging to see social media is taking this hashtag to the forefront to more people and sharing these unique stories to mainstream media.”
National Coming Out Day allowed students from the LGBTQ+ Resource Centre at Humber North campus to reflect on issues closer to them, specifically on campus.
Family Community Social Services student Mikki Decker said the school still has a lot of work to do when it comes to raising more awareness for the LGBTQ+ community.
“My concern as a student is that Guelph-Humber, Humber and Ignite are doing a very good job of promoting inclusivity and a safe campus but we’re not (a) practicing one,” Decker said.
“We need better training for our staff and leaders on campus to help raise more awareness for students.”
The internet has the ability to bring students together, especially for the LGBTQ+ community. Cosmetic management student Skyelar Fox says it wasn’t only social media that informed him about National Coming Out Day but also Humber College itself.
“It was very welcoming what the school was doing for National Coming Out Day,” he said. “There was a whole program going on in the Resource Centre and the school is pretty inclusive to begin with in my opinion.
“It’s great to see online that there’s a whole bunch of people celebrating diversity and it makes Humber such a more welcoming place,” Fox said.