Students, faculty gather at the seal to honor National Coming Out Day


Evan Younger / Hilltop Views

Lisa Kirkpatrick, Vice President for Student Affairs embarks on conversations centered around inclusion and the queer experience on campus.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion celebrated National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11 with LGBTQ students at the university’s beloved seal. Students were invited to join the Office of Diversity and Inclusion to share their experiences with coming out. 

Students gathered amongst one another, making friends while waiting for the event to start. Before the sharing began, some passersby stopped to join the celebration after seeing the community of students and their beacon of encouragement.

Lionel Lopez, assistant director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, opened the event by explaining that all attendees should feel free to share their own experiences in the safe space that was being created on campus. 

“Our job is not only to be able to create space but to give students a voice,” Lopez said. “It’s not easy sometimes to be able to give platforms to students. If this is your first year in college, we want to be sure that you know St. Edward’s is a space where you can be heard and seen.”

One by one, students came up to share their experiences and self-realizations leading up to their present-day identities. As stories were told, there were shared laughs, smiles and a couple of understanding sighs. 

“I lived like this my entire life without knowing what the queer community was, and it just proves how natural it is. You don’t have to be introduced to it to be yourself,” said one student who wished to remain anonymous. 

One of the most significant things St. Edward’s students’ walked away from this event was the sense of community many have found on campus. The people who shared their stories did so because they felt comfortable within the community being built on the hilltop. 

“It means a lot that we can be together and be in solidarity around such an important moment in the lives of so many of us and our identities and who we’re becoming,” Lisa Kirkpatrick, Vice President for Student Affairs, said.

Though students may not be able to share who they are with everyone in their lives, it is significant that they can share themselves on campus. LGBTQ students can foster friendships in a community that allows a safe space to embrace themselves.

This event was also a great way to kick off Queer week and an opportunity for new students to join the conversation and community.