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PV High students support Coming Out Day

Posted: Friday, Oct 11th, 2013

Pajaro Valley High School students celebrate National Coming Out Day during a lunchtime rally on Friday. (Photo by Roseann Hernandez/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — “I have been waiting for this day to come,” said Rosario Medina, a junior at Pajaro Valley High School and publicist for the school’s Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) club during the annual lunch-time rally in celebration of National Coming Out Day.

“On this day I could just express myself and be me,” she said.

Showered with confetti and adorned with balloons, members of the student body, faculty and supporting adults passed through a rainbow-painted door to show their support for the LBGTQ community as part of the celebration.

Medina explained that the door, with its one side painted black, represented hiding in the closet and all of its darkness, while the rainbow side represented pride and coming out of the closet.

“It’s hard for people to come out,” she said.

New for this year, some allies — straight supports of the LGBTQ community — went through the door saying they were “safe place providers.”

QSA Club advisor and guidance counselor Erica Murphy said student members of the school’s Interact Club triggered the action and was quickly taken up by other allies, in particular faculty who participated.

“Kids need to know they have a safe place to go if they have identity issues,” Murphy said, adding that students who find themselves in that situation often expect to be rejected, which can lead to a “whole host of negative behaviors – self harm or even suicide.”

Tom Bentley, who teaches freshman health and computers, showed his support by passing through the rainbow door.

“As teachers we are advocates, mentors,” he said, and “support matters.”

Bentley said studies have shown that youth need at least five adult mentors in their life and “some do not even have a mom and dad” to offer support if they are questioning their identity.

As the single parent who passed through the rainbow door on Friday, Claudia Ruvalcaba was disappointed that more parents did not attend to show their support for their children.

“We need more parents here,” said Ruvalcaba, who has attended the event for the past three years to support her son, Julian, who is a senior.

“It’s disappointing to me that there is not many parents here, but this event is important and I hope they continue with it next year.”

“Parents need to realize it’s their choice and we need to support them,” she said.

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