As a student at NWTC, Matthew Paider is majoring in prototyping and design, but it’s clear his passion for creative, hands-on work began long ago.
Embracing our truth: Why National Coming Out Day remains vital for LGBTQIA+ people
In the late 1980s, coming out as a lesbian was a daunting and isolating experience. Society was less accepting, and LGBTQIA+ representation was scarce. National Coming Out Day provides a platform for individuals like me to break the silence and share our stories. By doing so, we inspire others who may be struggling with their own identities, showing them that they are not alone and that there is a vibrant and supportive community waiting to embrace them.
National Coming Out Day allows us to reflect on the progress made in LGBTQIA+ rights since the late 1980’s. It is a reminder of how far we have come from a time when being open about one’s sexual orientation was met with hostility and discrimination. By celebrating our journeys and achievements, we inspire hope and resilience in those who are still navigating their path toward self-acceptance.
While society has made significant strides in LGBTQIA+ acceptance, there is still work to be done. National Coming Out Day serves as a catalyst for conversations and education, fostering acceptance and understanding among individuals who may not be familiar with the LGBTQIA+ community. By sharing our stories and experiences, we humanize our identities and challenge stereotypes and misconceptions that persist in society.
National Coming Out Day is a beacon of hope for those who are still in the closet, afraid to reveal their true selves. It reminds them that they have a community ready to support and uplift them when they are ready to take that step. By sharing our stories, we provide a lifeline for those who are struggling, showing them that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and they deserve to live authentically.
National Coming Out Day remains a vital and empowering event for LGBTQIA+ individuals, even decades after my own coming out experience. It is a day to celebrate journeys, honor our resilience, and inspire others to embrace their true selves. By continuing to raise awareness, foster acceptance, and support those who are still closeted, we can create a world where every individual feels safe, loved, and celebrated for who they are.
About the Pride and Allies Network at NWTC
NWTC’s Pride and Allies Network employee involvement group serves to foster an inclusive, open campus community, advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual/aromantic/agender, and allied (LGBTQIA) people. Promoting recruitment and retention of LGBTQIA employees will happen through opportunities to network, socialize, and address inequality in the college culture. The group consists of LGBTQIA individuals interested in LGBTQIA issues affecting employees and students at NWTC.
Jan Scoville is the Dean of Regional Learning, overseeing eight NWTC rural satellite locations. She has worked in higher education for more than 30 years with experience in residential living, student conduct, teaching, counseling and advocating for minoritized populations. She co-chairs NWTC's Pride and Allies Network employee involvement group, serves on the board of the Bay Area Arts and Culture Alliance, and is a member of the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators. In her free time, Jan enjoys finding treasures in thrift stores and creating in her art studio.