On a pristine tuesday night on the steps of Pasadena’s Central Library, The San Gabriel Valley’s Inaugural National Coming Out Day celebration commenced in spectacular fashion.
Complete with complimentary coffee and desserts, this event was meant, and succeeded, to welcome all who attended. After an interlude of food and drinks and an opening number production, introduced by Drag Queen Phenom Tia Wanna, a few select speakers then began to take the podium.
“Today we celebrate those individuals who have taken the brave right of passage of coming out, but more importantly we are here today to stand in support of those who have yet to and those who cannot”, said Timothy Tsao, from The Amazing Race season 5 and Tia Wanna’s bea, in his speech to the attendees of the event, while he was, framed by two pride flags in the archway of the library entrance.
This event intended to highlight the tremendous feat every LGBT community member must overcome, coming out to their friends and family. Also to correct the common misconception in the current times that the lasting difficulty of coming out has somehow gone away, though it hasn’t. Not meant solely for the LGBT community, the event also welcomed the “Allies” who support them.
“To me it was like if he had told me, “I am going to the park”, it made no difference to me because I’m not going to love him any less” Jae Villa answered when asked how she reacted to her own nephew coming out to her.
A newer and more correct acronym used to describe the gay community was also showcased in the various speeches in the night’s event was LGBTI2-S, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Interesx, and Two-Spirit.
Also in attendance tuesday night were various non-profit companies dedicated to the betterment of the LGBTI2-S community here in the San Gabriel Valley. Those vendors included mental health clinics, churches, public housing and assistance programs, and health services specializing in HIV prevention.
“I think to spread awareness and to have everybody understand, we’re all different and just because we’re all different doesn’t mean we don’t have the same needs for example whether it’s health, or whether is mental health, whether it’s substance abuse, whether it’s just resources for work, school… in events like this you get so much exposure” responded Raul Hernandez, head of the ‘Las Encinas’ Aurora, Behavioral Health Center when asked why he felt it was important to hold an event such as National Coming Out Day.
One Vendor that was exceptionally noteworthy was PrEP4LA, which introduced a drug that claims to be able to prevent the contraction of HIV. In collaboration with PrEP4LA was the LA Condom Program which provides free condoms to local health facilities, as well as individuals who go to their site and sign up to receive them.
The San Gabriel Valley’s Inaugural National Coming Out Day Celebration proved to be successful, but the festivities are not over. The Event on Tuesday was just part of what is the San Gabriel Valley Pride Week, with the climax being an all day event in the Central Park in Old Town Pasadena on October, 15.