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Connecticut treasurer celebrates National Coming Out Day at Sacred Heart University

State Treasurer Erick Russell.
Molly Ingram
State Treasurer Erick Russell.

Connecticut Treasurer Erick Russell visited Sacred Heart University on Wednesday to celebrate National Coming Out Day.

National Coming Out Day has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1988. It celebrates people “coming out,” or revealing their sexuality to friends, family or the public.

Russell is the first Black gay person elected to statewide office in U.S. history.

He said he was inspired in his journey as a gay man in public service by a college professor that was serving in the state legislature as an openly gay man.

“This individual was openly gay and proud, was respected and was in public life, and was in a position to make changes in communities like the one I grew up in,” Russell said. “And I realized at that point that there was a path for me to be who I was, to stand in my truth, to take up space, and be authentic about it, and still be successful. ”

The event included speeches from University President John P. Petillo, as well as university leaders and students. The school’s gospel choir sang as well.

National Coming Out Day is celebrated on Oct. 11 because it’s the anniversary of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.