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What does it mean to come out? Georgia State discusses with students

The school put together a panel of faculty, staff, students and local community members to talk about what it means to come out.

ATLANTA — Many local colleges and universities are showing support to their LGBTQIA students on National Coming Out Day.

Georgia State University kicked off its celebrations with a conversation. The school put together a panel of faculty, staff, students, and local community members to talk about what it means to come out.

"It really was a great opportunity for some cross-generational dialog as well," said Michael Sanseviro, vice president of student engagement at Georgia State.  

Sanseviro said this event, called Community Conversations, helped create a space for students to engage with others on a topic that is not easy to open up about. 

"We certainly hope that every student finds themselves in a space where they are proud of who they are and they feel comfortable with who they are," he said. "Whether students choose to come out in the kind of formal traditional sense or whether students just have a better sense of themselves and their sense of pride in their own identity."

This community panel is one of the many LGBTQ pride events GSU is putting on this month. On Tuesday, the school is hosting a Pride Prom where there will be live music, dancing, and food for students.

Sanseviro said this gives these students a chance to experience something they may have missed out on in high school.

He said it is open to all students to come out and celebrate diversity.

"It's a great opportunity just to celebrate inclusion, openness, and the diversity of our university," he said. 

With all the pride events this year, Sanseviro said he hopes LGBTQIA students can feel supported to reach their full potential beyond their time at school.

 "A really important part of that is having a real sense of comfort in who you are and understanding yourself in a deep and meaningful way," he said.