SJCC celebrates National Coming Out day

Violence towards trans people is on the rise

The new Superman comes out as bisexual on Oct 11, National Coming Out Day.

First celebrated in 1988, NCOD, is a positive celebration of queerness that encourages folks to share their truth with the world and take a stand against homophobia.

San Jose City College President Rowena Tomaneng said that supporting the LGBTQ+ students is a critical aspect of the college’s goal.

“We understand that the coming out process can be a difficult experience for LGBTQ+ people because of institutionalized discrimination, hate, violence, transphobia and homophobia,” Tomaneng said. “SJCC encourages members of our community to become allies to LGBTQ+ individuals and advocates for LGBTQ+ rights.”

San Jose City College hosted an online event on Monday Oct. 11, featuring national LGBTQ+ equality advocate, Rebby Kern, to mark the occasion. SJCC program SafeZone, along with the office of Student Development, the Student Equity and Achievement Program and the Diversity Advisory Committee, presented : Rolling out the welcome mat: Celebrating LGBTQ+ truth and wellness.

Kern said, “Today is really special for a lot of reasons … sometimes it feels like it is a one-time deal but in reality it is a lifelong journey.”

Rebby Kern, (they/them), serves as the Director of Education Policy at Equality North Carolina. They are also a nationally certified trainer for human rights campaign foundations, Welcoming Schools and All Children All Families, as well as providing training to youth-serving professionals in North Carolina through the Shift NC program. They are also the only non binary person of color in the state of North Carolina to be a brand ambassador for sportswear company Lululemon.

SJCC has a number of programs dedicated to promoting equal rights and opportunities for LGBTQ+ students, staff and faculty.

Rene Alvarez, Dean of Academic Success and Student Equality, said, “Institutions of higher education have an obligation to ensure LGBTQ+ student development and learning outcomes by listening to LGBTQ+ student voices, improving campus climate and fostering a deeper sense of belongingness.”

Mental health has begun to occupy a place in world headlines because of famous athletes such as United States Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and professional tennis player Naomi Osaka and during the ongoing pandemic created by the COVID-19 virus, people more and more are realizing how important it is.

According to the Trevor Project, a survey included that “the experiences of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ youth ages 13–24 across the United States …  70% of LGBTQ+ youth stated that their mental health was poor most of the time or always during COVID-19.”

Adding to the problems, the study indicated that “More than 80% of LGBTQ+ youth stated that COVID-19 made their living situation more stressful — and only 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ youth found their home to be LGBTQ-affirming.”

The Human Rights Campaign, tracking violence against the transgender and nongender conforming community since 2013, has reported 44 fatalities in 2020 making it the most violent year on record. The majority of these deaths have been Black or Latinx transgender women.

Event attendee, Donntay Moore-Thomas, program coordinator for the SJCC department of Student Affairs, said, “LGBTQ+ history is Black history.”

Upcoming events sponsored by SafeZone, Student Development, the SEAP and the DAC include the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Day of Visibility. On Nov. 4, there will be a viewing of the documentary They/Them/Theirs and a Q&A session with the filmmaker TherActivist after.