National Coming Out Week is a week to celebrate and support the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ)/Gender Sexual and Romantic Minorities (GSRM) community in coming out to their friends and family.

KSC Pride is heavily involved in organizing National Coming Out Week at Keene State College.

The group is KSC’s gay-straight alliance club that offers programs, resources and support to any student who would like to join, according to their website.

“Pride is a safe place for people to come hangout and have fun with other people in the community,” KSC Pride President Kayla Magan said.

Jacob Knehr, a member of KSC Pride, explained the importance of National Coming Out Week.

“Coming out is difficult and it can take a while to open up to your family and friends, so during coming out week, we celebrate it in an attempt to make the  LGBTQ community feel comfortable with the daunting process. You shouldn’t have to hide your sexuality. You should feel comfortable with yourself and who you are,” Knehr said.

KSC Pride member Lucy Briggs explained the group’s plans for the week.

This past Monday the group participated in Chalk Love. Briggs explained, “This is when we all get together, go out on Appian way, and write and draw motivational things. This is not only for our members, but for everyone on campus,” Briggs said.

Knehr spoke of the reason behind events like Chalk Love.

“The reason that we do this event is to make students and faculty feel loved. It is also a way for members of the LGBTQ/GSRM community to feel comfortable and celebrate their sexuality,” Knehr said.

“Chalk Love is not only for our members, but for everyone on campus. It also states that coming out is hard, but you are never alone; you are loved for who you are and we will be here every step of the way,” Briggs said.

Briggs continued to explain KSC Pride’s use of social media during National Coming Out Week.

“Throughout Coming Out Week I post things on our Facebook page to help not only celebrate the coming out process, but to help people figure out their identities,” Briggs said.

She continued to say that her and Magan went into a class and spoke about coming out, gender binarism, the sexual spectrum and the romantic spectrum.

“This year we had a coming out panel where we shared our coming out stories. There are struggles with it and it shouldn’t be taken as a joke,” Magan said.

Magan continued, “It’s first an internal struggle to accept and come out to yourself. I know it took me a long time to come to terms with it  before I even thought about telling other people. I was raised in a religious family and I was always taught it was the biggest sin to be gay, so I dealt with a lot of internalized homophobia because of that. To top it all off, my parents did not react well to finding out I was gay.”

Knehr explained the importance of acceptance and celebrating sexuality.

“There are some members of the LGBTQ/GSRM community who have bad experiences coming out and are not accepted by all of their friends and family. However, you shouldn’t have to hide your sexuality. It should be celebrated,” Knehr said.

Knehr continued, “It was hard for me to first come out; as it usually is for many people. It took a lot of time and self-exploring for me to feel comfortable with myself. Once I finally did, it felt good to be accepted by family and friends. This is why we celebrate this process, so people can feel more comfortable in this experience.”

Briggs offered some advice on coming out.

“My advice for coming out would be to educate yourself first. Homophobia is a lack and fear of knowledge. By educating the person you are coming out to first, you not only test the waters, but get to see how they will react in the end. But you have to remember that sometimes people will act more harshly to a scenario than to someone they love,” Briggs said.

Briggs explained what it means to come out.

“Coming out is a life time process. You have to constantly come out to new people all the time. Everyone’s coming out process is different,” Briggs said.

She continued to explain the community that KSC Pride provides on campus.

“We are a very accepting group of people who just love to have fun. No matter what your issue is, whether it involves the community or not, we are here if you need us. We want to make everyone’s experiences great here at Keene State College and within the greater community,” Briggs said.

Briggs continued, “Coming out is hard, but you are never alone. You are loved for who you are and we will be here every step of the way.”


Roger Weeks can be contacted at

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