GSA Club brings National Coming Out Day to Burlingame


Sophia Puzon

GSA members Violet Hansma, Ayden West and Sawyer Fair celebrated National Coming Out Day on the stage in the main quad with other club participants. Many members of the community wore rainbow ribbons and pride flags to support and celebrate the school’s LGBTQ presence.

Sophia Puzon, Senior Reporter

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club hosted a campaign table at lunch to mark and celebrate the nationally-recognized Coming Out Day on campus.

The club’s cabinet members decorated themselves and their campaign table in rainbow colors, an emblem of LGBTQ pride. In the days before and during Coming Out Day, the club distributed ribbons and stickers showcasing the colors of pride, such as the colors of the transgender or the asexual flag. 

During the lunchtime celebration, many students took advantage of the face painting station, returning to fifth-period classes with pride flags drawn on their faces. The club’s most notable display was a large poster with only the words, “BHS is Proud,” leaving space for students to add their names in support of the LGBTQ community.

“I think it’s so important to celebrate the bravery of everyone who’s been able to speak their truth and live authentically,” GSA president Sawyer Fair said. “It’s also a day to recognize the people who aren’t in situations where they can come out and know that they’re just as important as those who can.” 

The term ‘coming out’ holds great significance in the LGBTQ community, as it refers to an individual’s self-disclosure of their identity. Sharing one’s identity with trusted people and loved ones is often considered a rite of passage, as an individual comes to terms with their identity and fully accepts that aspect of who they are.

“When you come out, it shows that you know who you are and you’re ready to show the world,” Hansma said, “that’s one of the reasons why it’s so important for the LGBTQ community because it’s not only showing the world who you truly are, but it’s also showing yourself and finally realizing that this is who you are, and you can’t deny it anymore.”

Hansma remembers being anxious prior to coming out. Many share this feeling of anxiety because coming out often exposes an individual to further homophobia and discrimination.

“A lot of times when you come out, you do sometimes lose friends or realize that somebody isn’t as accepting as you thought,” Hansma said. “Once I came out, it was a little bit easier, but it wasn’t an immediate switch, and it was all okay. It’s a weight lifted off your shoulders, but you also get these new responsibilities.” 

That’s why National Coming Out Day is so important: it celebrates those who overcame the challenges of coming out and reduces the anxiety associated with sharing identity. But for the GSA club, spreading this message and increasing acceptance in the Burlingame community can’t be done in one day — it takes constant effort. For instance, the GSA is also sponsoring a trivia event during the remainder of October, which is LGBTQ History Month. 

“I think that GSA is more than a club. I think it’s more of a community and one that actually wants to make a lot of change,” Hansma said. “Hopefully, in future years, we can gain a bigger status and fight for something a little bigger.”