Nearly 100 people attended festivities on October 11, 2023
The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) at Dakota County Technical College hosted an event October 11, 2023, to coincide with National Coming Out Day (NCOD). Nearly 100 people attended the event, which was held on campus in the west commons outside the Student Life Center and featured rainbow snow cones, LGBTQ+ flags, pronoun pins, and education information about gender identities and expressions.
Eli Harold, 18, is earning an A.A.S. in Biomedical Equipment Technology at DCTC. Originally from Minneapolis, Eli is an active member of SAGA, Gaming Club, and Rotaract Club. They are looking forward to transferring to St. Cloud State University to complete a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. Eli currently works as an EMT at Children’s Minnesota, but is focused on switching to their dream career in biomed engineering.
Eli was instrumental in helping put together the National Coming Out Day event. “The purpose of our event was to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ folks who have come out of the closet about who they love,” they said. “While that the day is meant to celebrate, we still had some people who weren’t as out, but still enjoyed the fact the LGBTQIA+ community was being celebrated. We also had allies who showed up to show their support as well.”
Eli reported that similar projects are in the works for the future. “There are many national holidays celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community, and we plan to tackle as much as we can to show our unique diversity and equality at DCTC with consideration to our members time and availability,” they said. “For example, while this year we had snow cones, next year we plan to use genderbread, where our fellow students and staff can decorate their gingerbread cookie however they feel like to match their identities. Side note: we plan on making all the gingerbread cookies from scratch to accommodate for any food allergies, and it was a fun idea we all thought was cool.”
“Thank you to everyone who came out to have snow cones with us. You all made the event a tremendous success.
“Coming out is not a one-time event, but a lifelong process of living authentically and openly. It is not always easy, but it is always rewarding. You are not alone on this journey. You have a community that supports you and celebrates you—and it is always with welcoming arms.”
Biomedical Equipment Technology Major
Dakota County Technical College
NCOD at DCTC gallery
Saga student perspective: Keiran Silbernagel
Hometown: Burnsville, Minnesota
Major and degree earning at DCTC: Graphic Design Technology; switching majors to Veterinary Technician
Extracurricular activities at DCTC: SAGA, Gaming Club
Transfer plans: N/A
Career plans: Vet tech
“Thank you for coming to our National Coming Out Day event. We weren’t expecting such a big turnout, but it was really cool getting to see and talk to everyone who did attend,” Keiran said. “We, the people of SAGA, strive for a positive environment for the LGBTQ+ community, and wish to teach others about the harsh reality that comes with facing out history. We are so glad you all came and got to read the posters. Just know SAGA is planning more events, and we want to see new people’s faces!”
More about the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA)
The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) was started to create a community on campus for anyone who identifies in the LGBTQQIAA+ community at Dakota County Technical College. SAGA provides support and promotes acceptance at DCTC. Everyone is welcome to participate.
Our mission: To bring all people of all identities together and create an environment of inclusion and friendship.
Meetings: In person in the Cultural Center (Room 1-300). Email the club advisor for more information.
- Best Colleges: College Experience Guide for LGBTQ+ Students
- MN LGBTQ+ Therapists’ Network
Setting your Preferred Name allows DCTC to list your preferred name on class lists and non-legal documents. We believe our students should have every opportunity to be who they are on our campus while working toward the career of their dreams.
More about National Coming Out Day…¹
October 11 ALL DAY
NCOD was inaugurated in 1988 by Robert Eichberg and Jean O’Leary. Eichberg, who died in 1995 of complications from AIDS, was a psychologist from New Mexico and the founder of the personal growth workshop, “The Experience.”
O’Leary was an openly lesbian political leader and long-time activist from New York, and was at the time the head of the National Gay Rights Advocates in Los Angeles. LGBT activists, including Eichberg and O’Leary, did not want to respond defensively to anti-LGBT action because they believed it would be predictable. This led them to establish NCOD to maintain positivity and celebrate coming out.
The date of October 11 was chosen because it is the anniversary of the 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
Initially administered from the West Hollywood offices of the National Gay Rights Advocates, the first NCOD received participation from 18 states, garnering national media coverage. In its second year, NCOD headquarters moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and participation grew to 21 states.
After a media push in 1990, NCOD was observed in all 50 states and seven other countries. Participation continued to grow and in 1990 NCOD merged their efforts with the Human Rights Campaign.