Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

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February 24, 2024

Coming out day open mic night celebrates identity

On Wednesday, October 11, GSA held its first open mic night to celebrate National Coming Out Day.  Advertised as a way to “Celebrate identity and diversity with music, poetry, comedy, sharing your art, or simply by telling your story,” the National Coming Out Day open mic night was truly a way for members of the community to share their identities with each other.
Dr. Margaret France, the faculty adviser for GSA, explained that this is the club’s first time doing open mic night partially because the club had not been fully functioning for a few years.
“…the GSA had pretty much dissolved after 2016. Like there wasn’t a GSA, there wasn’t a GSA table at the activities fair, there wasn’t an exec board, there weren’t meetings, there was no GSA,” Dr. France said.
However, she explained, after student interest had increased during the 2016-2017 school year, GSA got back on its feet.  She stated that events like the open mic night really show how the students who are part of GSA are starting to get more involved on campus.
“I mean for me, it’s just been so moving to see the students involved in GSA involved more and more around…integrating into the broader step of campus events…just being out there,” France said.
In the past, senior and president of GSA, Jennifer Terry, explained, GSA has had a table in the brew to celebrate coming out day, handing out candy and ribbons, but this year they decided to do something more.
“We wanted another event that we could do annually, and we figured coming out day was a really good one for us to do,” Terry stated. “We went for the open mic night theme because coming out is about sharing your experience, sharing your identity, so we wanted to give people sort of a platform to do that: to perform, to tell stories, celebrate diversity, identity, that kind of thing.”
The event was held in Wallenberg which had been decorated with various rainbow streamers and flags that were representative of different identities within the LGBTQA+ community.  For those attending the event, there was body glitter and stickers as well as quirky coloring pages. And to top it all off, there was rainbow food!
Many members of the Augie community performed at the open mic night, reading something meaningful that they had written, singing, doing stand up comedy, and just sharing their stories.  Freshman, Tatiana Garcia, explained that she really enjoyed the event because it allowed her to meet new people.
“…a lot of these people here I don’t know, it’s a good way for me to get to know people in the same niche that I’m in,” Garcia stated.
Dr. France shared similar sentiments and described the coming out day open mic night as a way for students to meet others who are like them. She also emphasized that it acts as a learning opportunity so that those who attend can learn from and support each other.
“This is a place that is about accepting every kind of Viking,” Dr. France began, “and so in that sense there really aren’t that many events that are designed to say that sometimes being your kind of Viking is hard, but this is explicitly about sometimes being your kind of Viking is hard and you decided to be your kind of Viking anyway, and way to go. I mean that’s a big deal.”
Coming out is a big deal, and something that everyone has to go through at some way or another in their lives, and GSA made sure that students had a platform and a safe space to express themselves.  Their first National Coming Out Day open night mic was a success in bringing together students and other community members in a celebration of identity.
“Our whole goal is to kind of just make Augustana…more open and accepting, for our club to be more visible so that we are a more visible community on campus,” Jennifer Terry explained. “You need to connect with people who have similar experiences…so that’s what we do our events for: so people can come together whether they are queer or not, so they can share those experiences.”

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Coming out day open mic night celebrates identity