Queer Student Alliance holds event for National Coming Out Day

Queer Student Alliance, the second affirming LGBTQ group on campus, hosted a coming out event at Pinewood Coffee Bar to provide a safe space for LGBTQ students. It was organized by Abby Waters, a queer trans-nonbinary graduate student. Audrey La | Photographer

By Skylla Mumana | Reporter

Queer Student Alliance held a meeting for LGBTQ students in celebration of National Coming Out Day on Monday. The meeting was filled with laughs, tears and storytelling as members recounted their personal stories of coming out and their newfound hope with each other as queer individuals.

National Coming Out Day is an annual awareness day in support of members of the LGBTQ community revealing their sexuality to family, friends, colleagues and/or other loved ones in their lives. According to the American Psychological Association, Coming Out Day started on Oct. 11, 1988 to mark the anniversary of the second major national march in Washington for lesbian and gay rights.

QSA is the second affirming queer group at Baylor that aims to create a safe, supportive outlet for queer students on campus. The group was created in 2020, with the bulk of its membership first being made up of graduate students. The group has now grown to include undergraduate members as well, and members of the Waco community can also get involved with its events and outreach. QSA said despite preexisting policies within the university, it hopes to be able to educate Baylor students and faculty on LGBTQ experiences and rights in order to create a more inclusive environment.

Spring senior Brit LaVergne said she was excited that another queer organization was active on campus.

“When they started QSA, it was super awesome to see another queer student organization made up of Baylor students on campus,” LaVergne said. “I try to stay connected with them so we can just have a broader outreach with our Baylor community.”

The meeting took place on the back patio at Pinewood Coffee Bar, and was attended by numerous queer students at Baylor, including LaVergne who is the current president of Gamma Alpha Upsilon.

Gamma Alpha Upsilon is known to be the first affirming LGBTQ group at Baylor. LaVergne said the group is for students and run by Baylor students on and around its campus. Its aim is to foster community and provide a space to have educational discussions about queerness.

Anderson, S.C. graduate student Abby Waters is the cofounder and vice president of QSA. Waters said although they are excited at the group’s growth, it’s not enough and they’re hoping to make more progress on campus.

“I hope that Baylor continues to move forward in a direction that focuses on the diversity that they talk about,” Waters said. “I hope that we can continue to create that sense of belonging for queer students and queer community members.”