The week before National Coming Out Day, which is on October 11th, the Manhasset Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) worked to find ways to celebrate and recognize the day. Clove Zhu, a senior at Manhasset Secondary School, headed the initiative, and guided the GSA to make posters for this event.
“We had to research a lot of people who came out this year, which is not exactly difficult, but we wanted to find a lot of people who would be known through the school,” said Zhu who helped the GSA overcome every challenge thrown their way.
“We usually have a template and pre-made posters for LGBTQ History Month, which we could’ve used, but because of the lack of technology, we weren’t able to access anything,” noted Zhu. Because of this, the GSA had to start back at square one, which made it difficult to make posters–a critical aspect of the GSA’s plan to commemorate the day.
Zhu, who was in charge of organizing the posters, recalls that they had to “create a spreadsheet where we could collect the names of people and their information, such as their pronouns, their identity and some fun facts about them.” Despite having very specific qualifications, the group was able to honor 16 individuals.
From there, Zhu put the project into sophomore Jordan Aboyoun’s hands. She took all of the information that Zhu compiled and went to Mrs. Goldberg to design and print them, but the issues continued.
“We used Google Slides to design them, and made it all fancy. We had a picture, we had a logo… and it looked nice because it’s a rainbow,” explained Zhu. “But when you print in black and white, it just looked like streaks of different tones of gray.” The GSA had tried to come up with alternative ways to print the posters, but with no budget, it was best for the students to color in the rainbows by hand.
“We did an assembly line, so in the theater lab we were at a table, circled, and there were a bunch of people who helped with the process: we had one person for each color, and each color had one marker, and we went around with posters in a clock-work style,” described Aboyoun. As meticulous as the process was, it was a success and the posters were happily plastered on the walls of Manhasset High School.
Despite the setbacks, the GSA succeeded. After all the effort and struggle, the Coming Out Day posters were proudly displayed to the public. As for why the did it, Aboyoun’s answer is simple: “It provides a very good time to reflect on people who have come out recently, and also gives people who are on the fence a good opportunity to come out.”