By SAMANTHA BELCHER, Student Life Editor
University of Michigan-Dearborn students, faculty, and the student organization PRIDE commemorated National Coming Out Day on Thursday, October 11 by holding up signs to support those in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.
Aryka Rice, vice chair of PRIDE, said this movement is to honor those who have come out, attempted suicide or committed suicide.
“We (LGBT community) are fighting for equality and visibility,” said Rice.
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Anthony Wagner, chair of PRIDE, said the participants were demonstrating to spread awareness and on behalf of the LGBT community.
According to Wagner, about 17 volunteers held signs around the University Center stating phrases such as “I know someone who attempted suicide” and “I am not here anymore.” Wagner said he was very impressed that people where willing to give up an hour or afternoon to support this cause.
“The goal is to get people to look at them (the signs) and know the LGBT community exists,” Wagner added.
Wagner said PRIDE is a support system that is trying to make it easier for people to come out adding that it only takes one negative comment to isolate someone.
“Lives are better when they have a support system,” said Wagner.
Rice said PRIDE is hoping to touch people’s lives by showing support. She added that supporting those who come out could prevent someone from committing suicide.
“We (PRIDE) are here. We have a support system,” Rice said adding that it is difficult for many people to come out.
Wagner said it was very empowering when people came up to him saying thank you for putting on this event.
“It’s incredible that one sign, six words, can make a difference,” he added.
Wagner said students should be careful about negative slurs or comments they say because it may offend others. He added that students could help the cause by starting conversations with their friends and families.
“The conversations starting are making a difference,” said Wagner.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, National Coming Out Day is celebrated each year to commemorate the March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights that took place on October 11, 1987.
Rice said if students would like to get involved with PRIDE, “Like” the organization on Facebook. Students can also attend PRIDE meetings on Thursdays at 1 p.m. and/or 5 p.m.