Spectrum’s National Coming Out Day March: Celebrating Acceptance
The National Coming Out Day march and reception hosted by Spectrum on Oct. 11 was an unforgettable experience. The event drew in large numbers, and the crowd was extremely diverse. The march consisted of a large group of people from all different races, sexual orientations, religions, and more. “It was great to see so many people come out to support Spectrum’s Coming Out Day march,” said Maddie Peirce, an attendant at the march and reception. “Everyone was loving and supportive.” Everybody was welcome at this event and the atmosphere was reflective of this acceptance. The march was supposed to start at the Lower Quad and move to the Upper Quad; however, due to the weather conditions, the march ended at the clock tower. Even though it was raining, and the march was shorter than originally planned, spirits could not have been higher. Everyone was excited to be there, making noise and refusing to be silent.
After the march, the crowd got together to take a group picture and a short video where they chanted “Frostburg: One University. A World of Love.” The crowd was incredibly accepting of everyone and there was never a moment where anyone was made to feel other or less than. “The march was a lot of fun,” said Bri Wilson, an attendant of the march and also a sister of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority (ASA) who set up a table outside of the event. “It’s important for everyone to feel like they are important and like they belong. Today accomplished that.” The march concluded with laughter and went right into the reception where there was more laughter and celebration.
The celebration continued inside CCIT with the reception. Before walking into the room, there were many tables set up. The tables included Spectrum, ASA, and Brady Health. The Spectrum and ASA tables had poster boards that had information and support. The Brady Health table had resources and different forms of protection. These tables were set up to support members of the LGBTQ community as well as their allies. The reception began with Ariel Jackson Barreto giving opening remarks and the history of National Coming Out Day. Then, Dr. Bowling gave words of encouragement, saying that everyone needs and deserves support. He talked about how tolerance should no longer be talked about when discussing the LGBTQ community. “Nobody wants to be tolerated,” Bowling said. “They want to be accepted.” After Dr. Bowling finished, performances were given by Johana “J” Gourdin and Amber. J performed an original poem and invoked many emotions in the group. Amber gave a lip-synced performance where flower petals flew out of her gloves and out from under her wig. Both performances got the audience excited and prepared for the guest performer, Denice Frohman.
Denice Frohman is a queer woman from New York. She read many original poems about her life, about being queer, and about being a woman. The audience absolutely loved her, as there were cheers and a loud rounds of applause after every poem. There was also a Q&A session where people could ask her questions. Many people wanted to know more about her or they wanted her advice about different things related to being in the LGBTQ community. After Denice, Mykia Washington took the mic to talk about an organization she is bringing to campus. She is bringing a chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness to the Frostburg campus. The organization will be focused on advocating for people with mental illnesses. Keep a lookout for this organization.
Closing remarks were given by Jha ’Neal “Blue” Stoute, president of Spectrum. Stoute informed the room that Spectrum wants to make this event happen every year and hopefully have the event operationally funded. This was the second annual National Coming Out Day march hosted by Spectrum at Frostburg State University. If you missed the march and reception this year, make sure not to miss it next year. “It was great to see so many people come together to celebrate a day of happiness and acceptance,” Peirce said. “I can’t wait for next year.” This event is definitely one that you don’t want to miss next year. Everyone is accepted and everyone is loved.