Coming Out Day Assembly Allows Voices to Be Heard

Hosted by Project 10 East, Event Sparks Supportive and Educational Discussions

Juliana Vandermark, Contributing Writer

Last month, on December 13th, CRLS’ Project 10 East (P10) hosted the school’s annual Coming Out Day assembly.

Last month, on December 13th, CRLS’ Project 10 East (P10) hosted the school’s annual Coming Out Day assembly.

The assembly opened with a performance from one of CRLS’ a cappella groups, the Transpositions. The seven singers sang Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way,” putting the audience in an exuberant mood. After the performance, P10’s co-presidents, Naima Saini and Dorothy Levine—as well as other members—welcomed the audience and took time to explain what the assembly’s goals were.

The majority of the time during the assembly was taken up by a panel discussion, which is different from previous years. The panel included eight students and one teacher who all took turns answering pre-written questions as well as audience questions. Saini ’19 explained that “doing it in that way meant that we ended up having more people talking about their experiences than in previous assemblies.

She added, “[This] was really good, because coming out is such a broad topic, and people have such different opinions and stories about it.”

The panel discussed a variety of questions, from what being LGBT+ means to them to what the process of coming out was like.

TI Gonzalez, a junior, explained how being on the panel impacted him: “I was able to actually come out as myself for the first time in front of a big audience, and I felt like that was a really helpful way for me to tell everybody.”

For many panel members, coming out to the school and telling their story took some preparation. Gonzalez explained how he had to prepare to answer the questions and contribute as effectively as possible. “I had a lot of thought process [before] because [I had] to come up with brief ways to explain all my answers.”

A large part of the goal of the assembly was to teach members of the school community.

According to Saini, “The assembly is meant to be educational, and that doesn’t just mean, ‘here are the terms you should know.’ The LGBT community has many different people in it, and so we’re not one thing—that’s why I think it’s really important to get as many viewpoints as possible. There is no one universal coming out experience that we all have, and we wanted that to come across.”

In addition to teaching about the LGBT+ community and coming out, the assembly gave advice, and audience members asked questions and received insight on how to come out or react to someone coming out to you.

“My big idea was normalizing gay people,” sophomore Aviva Gould advised, adding that “there should be no bump in the conversation” when coming out.

“I feel like it’s really important to have this, because I feel like some people don’t understand what the people in the LGBT community are going through or [how] to help people who are closeted and give them advice,” Gonzalez said.  “It’s just really informative.”  

Reflecting on the assembly, Saini praised her club’s work, saying, “I’m really happy with how it went … it worked out! And everything was so worth it! The panelists were great!”

Leo Austin-Spooner, a freshman, added, “I came out as trans not too long ago, and this year I’ve met a lot of other trans people, so I guess sharing my story with a bunch of other people who were sharing their story … was really cool.”

He added, “I like doing this with other people who are also trans and finding a community with other people, so it was really cool to participate in that with those other people and talk about being trans and hearing their stories about being trans. [The assembly] spreads a lot of awareness about LGBTQ issues and coming out and all that, which is really important for people who aren’t LGBT to know and to hear others’ experiences.”

This piece also appears in our January print edition.