Wednesday, Oct. 11, was National Coming Out Day. To celebrate, the Music Department and the Pride Center hosted the Rainbow Recital in the Rhea Miller Auditorium.
The Music Department invited a collaboration of artists and faculty from across Michigan to share music from artists who identify as LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual and anybody who identifies else-wise or not under a given label).
“I purposefully picked National Coming Out Day for this recital at SVSU because I see it as a way of contributing to the visibility of the community,” said Joshua May, the organizer of the recital and performer from University of Michigan-Flint.
Additionally, Oct. 11 was the 29th anniversary of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which brought about National Coming Out Day.
The performances highlighted the power of coming out and the voice of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Rainbow Recital was also performed in February at UM-Flint and was hosted by the campus’ Ellen Bommarito LGBTQ Center. It was well-received by students, faculty and community members.
Performers included in the recital were Angela Hench from Ann Arbor and three SVSU performers: Rachel Andrews, Kelly Stubile-Clark and Cheryl Cheger-Timm. The diverse array of songs were accompanied with coming out stories.
The event sought to promote inclusivity and acceptance for the queer community, especially considering that students are often unaware of how many people around them identify as LGBTQIA+.
“One out of every two Americans has someone close to them who is gay or lesbian,” said Andrews, SVSU’s Voice Artist-in-Residence. “For transgender people, that number is only one in 10. Coming out – whether it is as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied – still matters. When people know someone who is LGBTQ, they are far more likely to support equality under the law. Beyond that, our stories can be powerful to each other.”
The goal of the event was to give an opportunity for students on campus to learn about music and poetry of LGBTQIA+ artists. The event aimed to bring more people together and to promote an air of understanding and acceptance on campus, no matter how they identified. Approximately 35 to 45 people attended the Rainbow Recital, all of whom felt welcomed accepted at the event.
“I often struggle feeling a part of the LGBTQ+ community, so events like the Rainbow Recital really mean a lot to me and make me feel connected and comfortable in ways that I don’t often feel on campus,” junior social work major Maddy Brown said. “I truly appreciate all the work that went into organizing the recital, and I’d love to attend more events like it. It makes me feel more at home on campus.”