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LGBT+ Society Celebrates National Coming Out Day

LGBT+ Society Celebrates National Coming Out Day

October 11th marked National Coming Out day, and here on campus the University of Kent’s LGBT+ Society gathered at Origins in Darwin to celebrate it. For some, the day is a celebration of their sexuality and gender identity. For others, on campus and around the country, it can give them the courage they need to come out. For Valiant Dorian, Kent Union’s LGBT+ Trans Officer, it was a particularly special day.

“I’m now finally experiencing this day as an out person” they said, having recently come out to their Mother.

In response to their mother’s question, asking for the greatest honesty, Valiant Dorian responded with

“Yes Mum, I’m gay”.

The question turned out to be related to Ellen DeGeneres, whom Dorian’s mother was familiar with as a member of the LGBT community. For Dorian, coming to Kent was a “defining factor” in their journey to coming out. The independence gained through living at University, away from home, gave them the freedom to live as their “authentic self”.

Cara Hall, the current co-President of the Society, has been a member since her first year at Kent.

“I had a really great time in my first year, and I wanted to give that back to other freshers”.

In her second year, she was the Social Secretary for the LGBT+ society and helped to organise events to bring the community together. Regarding this, she commented on how nice it was “to feel like you’re not alone any more”.  For someone like Dorian who had been in the closet their whole life, it was amazing to come to the society and realise “oh wow! There’s a lot of us here”. George Calnan, the Society’s Vice President, comes from “a very small village” which they say has little to no LGBT+ community. Coming to Kent, they were happy to find a large, welcoming community where they made many friends and met their current housemates.

Both Calnan and Dorian use they/them pronouns, while other members of the community use names other than their birth names or “dead names” as some people call it. However, pronouns are not a big enough part of the discussion yet and another member of the Society found their “dead name” was still on the register in all of their seminars, despite them having changed it on their student ID. This, along with the issue of gender neutral toilets, is something the University needs to address in future to better accommodate LGBT+ students.

The mood at Origins was cheerful and positive. The previous Society President, Jason Friend, was happy to see “so many people celebrating National Coming Out Day both on campus and across the UK and further”. However, he also added that “coming out is a never-ending process” and this day is important for those who are “open about their sexuality and gender identity, but also those who haven’t come out yet”.

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