The University of Rhode Island is currently celebrating its sixth annual Coming Out Week.
Hosted by the Gender and Sexuality Center, celebration is held within the same week as National Coming Out Day. Observed each year on Oct. 11, National Coming Out Day encourages members of the LGTBQ+ community to disclose and celebrate their identities.
Many people and institutions, including URI, choose to spread the celebrations out over the span of a week, however. This year, National Coming Out Week at URI will occur under the subtitle “Out of The Closets, Into the Streets,” stressing the week’s theme of visibility and respect for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s important for us to come together and embrace who we are and be willing to work together and make the world a better place,” said Coordinator of LGBTQ Programs and Services Annie M. Kosar. “I look forward to discussing across the week how different identities can come together to create social change.”
After a community breakfast in which community members discuss the events of the upcoming week, the center will hold various workshops on several LGBTQ+ issues throughout the week, including healthcare, queer history and representation.
One speaker of note is Rhode Island’s first openly transgender coach Stephen Alexander, who discussed his experiences in transgender activism and trans inclusion in URI athletics. Alexander spoke last night at Edwards Auditorium.
Koser will also hold a discussion today on the use of Kandi bracelets in rave culture for queer activism from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Gender and Sexuality Center.
“There really is power in numbers. It’s more important for marginalized communities to get together than ever” said Kosar when discussing her event.
This Friday, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., the center, in collaboration with the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, will host its Coming Out Door on the quad. Students, faculty and community members can literally come out of a decorated door, and figuratively come out as any identity that is important to them.
The week will conclude with the University’s fourth annual Drag Ball at Hardge Forum in the University’s Multicultural Center. The event will happen from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
All events are open to students, faculty and the public.