Lambda presents: Is Coming Out Still a Thing?

By Karun Rivero, 2L

Chris Rudisill spoke at Stetson. Photo by Karun Rivero.

Chris Rudisill spoke at Stetson. Photo by Karun Rivero.

Chris Rudisill, Director of LGBT Services at Metro Wellness and Community Center in St. Petersburg, and members of the Stetson Lambda Legal Society spoke Oct. 7 on the Gulfport campus about the importance and challenges of coming out following the Obergefell decision earlier this year.

Students listened to the Lambda presentation, "Is Coming Out Still a Thing?" Photo by Karun RIvero.

Students listened to the Lambda presentation, “Is Coming Out Still a Thing?” Photo by Karun RIvero.

The presentation was held in conjunction with National Coming Out Day –an event held every year to acknowledge coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally. This Sunday, Oct. 11, will mark the 27th anniversary of National Coming Out Day.

“Added visibility helps break down barriers,” said Rudisill. “Who we are is the most important part of our lives and we must show it.”

Rudisill discussed why coming out is still extremely important to the LGBT community and pointed to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on marriage equality and the surge of media attention and education about the LGBT community from celebrities and activists such as Laverne Cox.

“No one can tell a young (LGBT) person anymore that they are the only ones,” Rudisill said.

He added that coming out itself can be easy or it can be difficult for some people, but for everyone there is the reality of living life after coming out.

This year’s Coming Out event is being held following a very difficult week for the LGBT community and allies. This week, the 20th murder of a transwoman of color was reported and two transgender youth reportedly committed suicide.

Support groups and events sponsored by Metro are aimed at helping individuals and their families. Metro provides wellness and community centers dedicated to providing information and services to members of the LGBT community as well as their families.

Stetson’s Lambda Legal Society provides a forum for exploring the legal issues faced by people identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender and allies. One of the goals of Lambda Legal Society is to provide tools young attorneys need to work more effectively with the increasingly visible LGBT client. LGBT clients seek legal advice in all areas of legal practice, and young attorneys should become familiar with the resources available.

For more information on Metro and the services they provide, please visit http://www.metrotampabay.org.

For more information on Lamba Legal Society, please visit http://www.stetson.edu/law/students/home/student-organizations.php.