Dear campus community,
Today, we celebrate and acknowledge National Coming Out Day (NCOD). Today is also Indigenous People's Day. These two dates falling together compels us to particularly recognize the Native and Indigenous Two Spirit, Queer, and Transgender Communities on campus, territory of xucyun (Huichin) and beyond. Among these, we celebrate queer Navajo painter R C Gorman, as well as the queer Indigenous creatives bringing the acclaimed show Reservation Dogs to life, including queer Mohawk actor Devery Jacobs, transgender Navajo director Sydney Freeman, and queer Kumeyaay writer Tommy Pico.
Since its establishment in 1988, NCOD has been recognized as a day of visibility and celebration for the LGBTQ+ community. While the historical intention was to counter the legal and social marginalization that force many LGBTQ+ people to live hidden lives, National Coming Out Day has increasingly become a day for uplifting LGBTQ+ joy, reflecting on personal journeys, and celebrating LGBTQ+ contributions to the tapestry of life. NCOD takes place during LGBTQ+ History Month, designated as a time to honor and learn about queer and trans history. UC Berkeley's rich and vibrant LGBTQ+ history includes the founding of QARC in 1969, one of the oldest queer student organizations in the country, a visit by Oscar Wilde in 1882, and the accomplishments of a host of renowned LGBTQ+ scholars and activists among our faculty, staff, and alumni.
We celebrate our LGBTQ+ community of students, faculty, staff, and alumni as we continue to work together to create a campus of belonging for all sexualities and genders. The founders of National Coming Out Day, Richard Eichberg and Jean O'Leary, as well as many other activists at the time, saw the power of coming out as a way to change hearts and minds and create new advocates for equality. Coming out can also have the impact of helping others in the community know that they are not alone. It is vital to recognize that coming out is not as simple as a single declaration. Rather, it is an ongoing choice to invite others in to share in personal, intimate identities and experiences, an invitation that allows for deeper connections and the opportunity to be in community with one another. For more reflections on this, we invite you to read the article “We Need to Move Beyond Coming Out and Begin Inviting In.”
We have come a long way since 1988, but we still have work to do.
UC Berkeley's Gender Equity Resource Center has great resources for folks who may be looking to come out as well as some helpful Do's and Don'ts for when someone comes out to you. The Human Rights Campaign also has extensive resources on coming out available, including a guide for how to be an LGBTQ+ ally
For those looking for community, there are several faculty, staff, and student groups doing great work to create a welcoming and supportive environment at UC Berkeley. A few we'd like to uplift and celebrate:
- The Chancellor's Advisory Committee on LGBTQ+ Communities at Cal
- The Gender Equity Resource Center, UC Berkeley's campus community center where students, faculty, staff and alumni connect for resources, services, education, and leadership programs related to gender and sexuality.
- Indigiqueer: Native, Two Spirit, LGBTQ+, Indigenous Community at UC Berkeley (for more information, contact Antônio Bastida from Native American Student Development at email@example.com).
- LavenderCal, UC Berkeley's network for LGBTQ+ employees, which hosts monthly events, including First Friday luncheons and the LavCal LitClub, a book club for LGBTQ+ staff.
- Our newly formed Queer, Trans, People of Color (QTPOC) staff organization supporting and celebrating those at the intersections of these identities (those interested in learning more can email Harris Mojadedi at firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The Queer Alliance Resource Center, the umbrella organization for LGBTQ+ student organizations on campus.
- The Sexual Orientation and Gender Advocacy Project (SOGA), supporting the experiences of queer and gender-diverse graduate students.
- The UNITY Theme Program, a living/learning community focused on gender and sexuality supported by our Residential Life team.
We hope these resources can be a support to you, not just today but well into the future, and we encourage you to use this day as a time to reflect and learn more.
Happy National Coming Out Day!
Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D. (he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Billy Curtis (he/him/his)
Gender Equity Resource Center
Em C. Huang, M.Ed. (they/them/theirs)
Director, LGBTQ+ Advancement and Equity
Gender Equity Resource Center
Dania Matos, J.D. (she/her/ella)
Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion