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Oceanside school district honored on National Coming Out Day

The State Schools Chief was in North County, this morning, to honor LGBTQ students in the Oceanside district. Thurmond led a panel discussion on this National Coming Out Day. KPBS Education Reporter M.G. Perez was there.

The Oceanside Unified School District has been recognized as one of the top districts in the state supporting LGBTQ students.

Every year, Equality California puts out a report card grading districts on several factors impacting gay and transgender young people. Those factors include school climate, cultural competency training, transgender and gender-nonconforming student support, curriculum, and suicide prevention.

Oceanside Unified has done so well, district superintendent Julie Vitale was awarded Equality California’s highest honor. The Spotlight Certificate of Excellence was personally delivered by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond Tuesday, during a National Coming Out day event on the campus of Oceanside High School.


Vitale is openly gay and has led her district in enforcing the California FAIR Education Act passed by the state legislature in 2011.

“It says we’re supposed to support all students and create safe and affirming schools and specifically for our lesbian, gay, and bisexual and transgender students,” Vitale said. “So we’ve done that, we really have just enacted the law."

National Coming Out Day is the annual LGBTQ day of awareness to support those who decide to “come out of the closet” and live authentic lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lives.

“I personally have not come out to my parents in any way that is showy or flashy, but it’s important for kids to know their voice is heard,” said Mio Holguin, 17, a senior at Oceanside High School, who was part of the Tuesday event.

Marius Montoya, 16, and Mio Holguin, 17, are members of the LGBTQ student community at Oceanside High School, Oceanside, Calif., October 11, 2022.
Matthew Bowler
Marius Montoya, 16, and Mio Holguin, 17, are members of the LGBTQ student community at Oceanside High School, Oceanside, Calif., October 11, 2022.

Holguin uses they/them pronouns and supports several classmates who are still not ready to come out about their sexuality.


“I support them ... on a personal level about relationships…talking person to person instead of talking to them on a broader, more public scale,” Mio said.

Marius Montoya, 16, is a junior at Oceanside High School. He came out to his family when he was 12 years old. He’s now 16 and happily partnered with a classmate.

“You don’t have to come out, but if you feel people would understand you better after you came out, I would suggest doing it,” Montoya said, “because they would understand you better and help you out more.”

The Oceanside Unified district has been especially diligent with programs to stop bullying and offer mental health support for students who need it.

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