'This day is here to symbolize that people will accept themselves'

'This day is here to symbolize that people will accept themselves' »Play Video
A rainbow flag flies Aug. 12, 2010, outside City Hall in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Five recent suicides of gay students prompted celebrities to speak out about coming out and being out.

Students at Oregon State University say it's the right message at the right time.

Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day. OSU senior Kevin Mcintosh came out as gay right before he started school in Corvallis.

"One thing to know about this is even though the celebrities are big and famous, and it's nice to hear that there is somebody gunning for you, there is probably somebody gunning for you close to home," he said.

Oregon State and the University of Oregon were both recently named gay-friendly campuses.
OSU just launched a new program to encourage lesbian, gay, bi and transgendered students to study engineering and sciences.

Chemical engineering student Kathy Han recalls feeling isolated and alone.
"I felt that I kind of had to choose between being queer and being an engineer," she said.

Prospective students aren't asked their sexual orientation at Oregon campuses, and resource centers don't know if they're reaching everyone who need help.

"It puts us at a disadvantage," said Steven Leider, director of LGBY Outreach and Services at OSU. "We don't know whether we are actually succeeding with the programs that we do have."
Mcintosh says the LGBT campus support system works,and he's hoping others feel the same.

"This day is here to symbolize that people will accept themselves," he said, "and the rest of the world, whether they accept it or not - we will be gay."