Lauryn Kanagi, left, chats with Sarah Fujii, and Sonja Rossi, right, at the National Coming Out Day booth in the cafeteria at College of the Canyons on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

National Coming Out Day Celebration at COC

Three organizations came together Thursday to celebrate National Coming Out Day with food, games and conversation at College of the Canyons. 

Originally, the event was set to be outside by the flagpole, but amid Santa Ana wind gusts forecast to reach up to 75 mph, it was moved into the cafeteria. COC’s Gender-Sexuality Alliance, or GSA, and Associated Student Body, or ASG, worked alongside the community LGBTQ organization QueerSCV to put on the walk-through event. 

For Kelly Ramnarie, president of QueerSCV, this event was not meant to pressure those who are scared to “come out,” but rather an outlet for encouragement and support. 

Volunteers Leila Draghi, left, and Sarah Mechsner arrange information and give-a-way items at the National Coming Out Day booth in the cafeteria at College of the Canyons on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

“If people know their loved ones are part of the LGBTQ community, they are going to feel an empathic connection with the community,” said Ramnarie. “One part is to get more allies to show that everyone knows at least one person in the LGBTQ community.” 

LGBTQ visibility was also a main aspect of the event. To Sarah, who declined to disclose their last name, LGBTQ visibility is “being visibly comfortable in public while being ourselves and having a space where we can put ourselves out there.”

The event provided free Jimmy John’s sandwiches and popcorn to its attendees, along with LGBTQ buttons and stickers. Pamphlets were provided by Santa Clarita Mental Health Center and CSUN’s community agency Strength United.

Sonj Rossi, right, picks up a rainbow flag from Lauryn Kanagi, left, at the National Coming Out Day booth in the cafeteria at College of the Canyons on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Queer Pong” was a popular attraction at the event. Attendees threw ping-pong balls into colorful cups to win various prizes, such as mini-LGBTQ flags, stickers and bracelets. 

Though the event celebrated National Coming Out Day on Thursday, the official day is Friday. Organizers decided to run the event early due to the fact that most students don’t have Friday classes. 

R.J. Bulandadi, president of the GSA, talked about what being in the LGBTQ community has done for them. 

“When I was younger, I felt isolated because I didn’t know who I was until I found the (LGBTQ) community,” said Bulandadi. “We have shared difficulties, which bring us all together.”

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