In October, it felt a lot like June on The University of New Mexico campus.
The UNM LGBTQ Resource Center hosted its first-ever Lobo Pride event as part of National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11.
Since Gay Pride Month is normally celebrated in June, students and faculty have traditionally been unable to celebrate with one another during summer break. Then, after years of coordination and overcoming staffing issues, Educational Specialist Frankie Flores and center staff finally made Lobo Pride come to life.
“We decided it was now or never,” Flores said.
The daylong stretch of events catered to all ages and identities, starting with a recognition brunch for out faculty and staff. The group, while encouraging campus-wide involvement, led a parade to the SUB.
“I really wanted to create a network where we have faculty and staff kind of rely on each other,” he said.
Organizers also welcomed local drag queens to perform for an enthralled crowd, all celebrating National Coming Out Day.
“Kids still struggle to come out and it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked,” project assistant Josh Lerma said.
This day was founded in 1988 by gay rights activist Jean O’ Leary. Oct. 11 was chosen to mark the anniversary of the second annual National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
Raising awareness for this day is critical, as it provides the extra power and confidence for many people to make the final leap to come out to their friends and family. Staff at the resource center, however, want anyone who may be experiencing this important realization, to know there is no rush.
”’There's no timeline. I think that individuals assume you have to be out by the time you get into college, but you can come out anytime,” Flores said.
The LGBTQ Resource Center is aiming to make this a yearly event in order to connect the community, and provide greater opportunities for queer students.
That includes its efforts to raise over $2,500 to create 10 different student scholarships at UNM.
“It’s exciting we’re finally doing this,” Lerma said. “This will be the first of many.”
Learn more about the LGBTQ Resource Center, as well as its opportunities and events by heading to their website.