By Lupe Duran |Staff Writer|
Throughout the week of Oct. 15-19, CSUSB students came together to celebrate National Coming Out Week, an event presented by the Santos Manuel Student Union Pride Center that included do-it-yourself activities, outdoor fun and music.
Each day featured a different event that welcomed not only the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual communities, but everyone on campus.
Tuesday night in particular was full of musical talent as the SMSU dining area hosted the “Out in Music” event.
“The goal of ‘Out in Music’ was to provide a sense of community, to be out and be proud and allow all students to share their stories about their unique struggle,” said Pride Center Coordinator Janet Honn-Alex. “It’s about not only being accepted but celebrated.”
The event featured a total of six performances, attracting a room full of people. Every single chair was filled and even more were brought in to accommodate the standing crowd.
The setting, though small, provided a warm and welcoming atmosphere that suited the event perfectly.
The first performer of the night, the talented Jenell Reyes, played her guitar and sang a song she wrote inspired by her experience being saved by God. She sang about everything she believes God has done for her and the impact he has made in her life.
“I believe I touched people with the lyrics of the song I wrote,” said Reyes.
Setting the tone for the night with her performance, the audience roared and cheered, indicating that Reyes was right.
The second act of the night was a female duet made up by students Essence and Celeste. Their performance was accompanied by acoustic guitars and was well received by the audience.
Essence and Celeste’s performance had the crowd interactive as they occasionally joined in by singing along.
Throughout the night, students took to the stage and performed cover songs as well as a couple spoken word performances that really shed some light on the struggles the LGBTQQIA community, as well as its supporter,s go through.
The Pride Center hoped to provide a comfortable environment for the LGBTQQIA community to speak on their coming out stories and experiences.
“We just want our guests and students to know that there is a safe place they can go where we celebrate coming out,” said Grad Assistant Gabriela Sandoval.
Sandoval’s hope for the event was fulfilled as many of them expressed a welcoming feeling, a friendly attitude and an unexpected connection from the stories they heard.
One student shared how she didn’t expect the event to be as moving as it was and much less expected to be able to somehow relate to the struggles within the community. This indicates that the Pride Center’s aim at reaching out to everyone was indeed a success.
“I think that from the ‘Out in Music’ event people felt inspired to not hide and [that] its okay to be who they really are as well as gave people an open mind towards diversity,” said student Jesse Baeza.