Q&A: D. Chase Catalano on Coming Out Month
D. Chase Catalano, director of SU’s LGBT Resource Center, talks about Coming Out Month, October—its purpose, what we can learn from it and how to take it with us throughout the year.
Q. What is the purpose of Coming Out Month?
A. At the LGBT Resource Center, we like to think that the purpose of Coming Out Month is more than just about “coming out.” When we think about planning for the month, we consider topics, identities and experiences in the broadest sense; our goals are about addressing the intersections of our identities and the ways they are impacted by our sexuality and/or gender. We hope we provide many opportunities for students, faculty and staff to get connected to ideas, each other and the broader Syracuse University/SUNY ESF communities. The month also provides an opportunity to increase visibility of communities and identities that are often not talked about or discussed.
Q. Who is Coming Out Month for?
A. We hope that our month of events is for everyone. Some people use our annual event of coming out stories to tell a piece of their story. Other people may never come out, and we’re okay with that. It’s about building a broader sense of connection within and across identities, letting people know they are not alone and that there are a lot of ways to get information, support and be connected.
Q. What can we continue to learn from Coming Out Month events?
A. One month of events and programs demonstrates the complexities of our experiences, identities and politics. Some topics we touched on this month were: the intersections of disability justice and queer rights through our keynote by Emi Koyama, navigating job searches, international politics, activism and performance, and the little known history of Alan Turing. There is so much more to consider and so many more ways to address them!
Q. What can we take with us throughout the year from Coming Out Month?
A. We hope that people realize that learning is a continuous process—learning about ourselves, our communities, our allyship and our complexities. We hope that students, faculty and staff are interested in learning more and being more connected (to each other and the LGBT Resource Center).