GREENVILLE (WITN) Free hugs were part of the National Coming Out Day celebration at one university here in the east on Friday.
ECU's LGBTQ Center, along with students, showed their support during the event on campus.
The Senior Associate Director of the LGBTQ Center says this celebration commemorates the march on Washington D.C., the largest march for for LGBT rights in U.S. History.
As part of National Coming Out Day, ECU's LGBTQ Center, local moms and dads, and even pastors came to celebrate LGBTQ pride.
Although it was about celebrating pride within the community, the LGBTQ Center's senior associate director says it's also recognizing that the support of allies have helped in making social advances for them.
One mother and ally, Beth-Ann Wilkie, knows how much the support, whether it's a hug or a conversation, means to some students.
"It hit me that this is something that is real for this community and this is something that they're missing sometimes is that family support. So we are happy to provide that for them. You know we're here and hey, if your family not gonna be here for you, then we're your family," said Wilkie.
The celebration of coming out day on ECU's mall has been an annual event that the LGBTQ Center's director says has only been getting bigger and bigger every year.
For those who need it, there are several resources on campus like the LGBTQ Center and the Women & Gender office that can provide support.
ECU's Dr. Jesse R. Peel Center is now the largest LGBTQ center in the UNC system.