By Hadley Barndollar, Contributing Writer

It seems that each year, members of the LGBTQ+ community are stepping out and paving new pathways for each other.

This past February, Michael Sam from the University of Missouri became the first Division I college football player and NFL draft pick to come out as gay. A major milestone for both the LGBTQ+, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer, and professional sports communities, this changed the face of two games: the game of football and the game of coming out.

National Coming Out Day occurs on Saturday, Oct. 11 this year. The University of New Hampshire has proclaimed National Coming Out Week on campus, with a variety of events running all week long. These events are open to all students and the surrounding community.

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) will host an OMSA Quench Discussion in their office, Memorial Union Building Room 327, from 12:40-2 p.m. This will include informal discussions about the concept of healthy sexuality, focused towards LGBTQ+ students. Open to anyone, the discussion is about sharing perspectives and expanding awareness.

On Tuesday evening from 7:30-9 p.m., there will be a “Come Out Speak Out”-themed slumber party in MUB 145. Participants are encouraged to wear pajamas, as well as bring any other sleepover-related items. Topics of discussion will include the process of coming out, as well as personal experience.

In the Granite State Room at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, Dustin Lance Black, writer of “Milk,” will be presenting to the UNH community. Black is a screenwriter, producer, director and social activist. He has won an Academy Award and two WGA Awards for Best Original Screenplay for “Milk,” which is a biographical movie about civil rights activist Harvey Milk. Black is also a founding member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which works for equal LGBTQ+ rights.

There will be an ally dinner at the Waysmeet Center from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9. UNH Slow Food will prepare the evening’s food. Meant to serve as a celebration of allies of all identities, all are welcome to attend.

And lastly, on National Coming Out Day, The Alliance will be marching in the annual UNH homecoming parade. The Alliance encourages students to bring flags, wear rainbow and sport Alliance clothing. The Alliance wishes to spread the word, increase awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and celebrate diversity.

“National Coming Out Week is important because it unites the majority of the queer community by way of shared experience,” program coordinator for The Alliance Meghan Dezurick said. “It brings us together in knowing that most of us have had or will have the experience of coming out. Coming Out Week also gives courage to those in the queer community who have yet to feel comfortable in their own skin.”