Intimate, inspiring, and inclusive- CAB event celebrates LGBTQ+ identities
By: Abigail Jarvis
National Coming Out Day was Sunday, Oct. 11. The holiday commemorates the bravery and identities of individuals in the LGBTQ+ community. Cleveland State University’s Campus Activities Board recently celebrated by hosting a virtual event on Zoom on Monday, Oct. 12. CAB Diversity Chair Reem Abumeri organized the event. Attendees and guest speakers included CSU’s Dr. Don Allensworth-Davies, Outreach coordinator and psychologist Bruce Menapace, and student intern Caleb Sargent from LGBTQ+ Student Services. Self-acceptance, support resources, mental health, and creating an accepting community at CSU were all ideas highlighted at the CAB event.
The speakers of the evening shared heartfelt experiences and advice for coming out to friends and family while acknowledging the anxiety that coming out can cause. Bruce Menapace gave simple advice for individuals who were concerned about coming out.
“Find your people,” Menapace said. “Having a community is so, so critical in developing a positive sense of yourself.”
Menapace assured that these feelings of vulnerability are common. He recommended that individuals should be patient with themselves and come out to loved ones when they are ready. Dr. Don Allensworth-Davies agreed.
“Take your time. Don’t feel like you have to come out to everyone in the world today. Pick the people who are really close to you who you trust,” Allensworth-Davies said. “Do it as you feel comfortable. That can be one person at a time over a long period of time if that’s what it takes.”
Menapace and Allensworth-Davies both emphasized the importance of support systems, and Cleveland State has several to offer. Right now LGBTQ+ Student Services is operating virtually Monday – Thursday, 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. The Counseling Center at CSU is also offering remote hours Monday – Friday, 9 a.m – 5 p.m. In addition to those services, students can join CSU’s Queer Student Alliance who is hosting virtual meetings on Zoom monthly.
As the conversation transitioned from community and personal stories to allyship for the LGBTQ+ community, Menapace gave cautious advice for how people can be more empathetic when someone you love comes out to you.
“When you have a chance to hear someone come out to you, please don’t minimize it; but thank people for sharing their story,” he said. “They have taken a lot of courage and worked up some energy to tell you, so take time to appreciate that.”
Overall the event was entertaining and insightful. Abumeri was enthusiastic about every story shared and asked each speaker poignant, relatable questions that drove the spirit of the evening. Engaging and informed, Abumeri included all who participated and even raffled off a polaroid camera as a prize after the event. It is evident how passionate Abumeri is about her role at CAB and the event she planned.
“As the diversity chair of CAB this year, I definitely seek to create events that highlight the beauty and uniqueness of minorities or other cultures,” she said. “There is so much that we as students have yet to learn and I definitely always emphasize, not just to others, but to myself, how important continuously educating ourselves and spreading positivity is!”