By Diane Paik
Old Town Times Staff Writer
National Coming Out Day is celebrated every year on October 11th, and this year, Sir Pizza in Old Town participated in the festivity by hosting a night of pizza and acceptance for the LGBT community.
Many youth have recently been especially involved with LGBT affairs and creating positive awareness. The night consisted of pizza, conversation, and some speakers talking about their personal testimonies and encouragement for the LGBT community.
Rainbow banners were decorated all along the outside of Sir Pizza proudly showing off their commitment to the holiday. The GSA (Gay Straight Alliance) organized the event and invited their friends, family, or anyone else who wanted to come.
The main organizer was unavailable to speak.
Among the attendees was a teacher from Holt High School, Erin Umpstead. She leads a GSA club at the high school and was at the event with some members and students.
“There are always a couple of students in the club (GSA) every year who say, ‘I don’t know what I am,’” said Umpstead. “The club is probably 75% straight and 25% LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, transgender, or questioning). It’s just always so neat to offer them a chance to come out or a chance to stand up for people or a chance to do something that I don’t think a lot of high schoolers get a lot of practice with.”
Her involvement at the event was to show that communities around Lansing could come together to support the LGBT and demonstrate the compassionate recognition of them.
“Old Town is a great area to hold such events because of their support and vibrant community.”
Along with Umpstead, a group of her students came to the event. Brianna Neff and Alaina Wilson were there as allies to show their friends that they care and are validated.
“I just wanted to come and show my support,” said Neff. “It’s important for my friends to know that I love them and will always accept them.”
“Days like today are really cool because we get to celebrate my gay friends and help anyone who is still in the closet to feel comfortable enough to come out, “added Wilson.
More than anything, Umpstead, Neff, and Wilson want to help people who are close-minded to rethink and learn to accept everyone.
“I’m really proud of the people that are slowly but surely opening up their minds,” said Umpstead.