By Christina Torres
“Coming out is like being an ogre, it has layers,” Elizabeth Ehret, senior music performance and women and gender studies major, said as she opened up to the audience on Monday Oct. 3 at the Coming Out Monologues. Ehret is the president of PRISM and was the second performer to share her coming out story.
When Elizabeth came out to her mother, her younger brother was listening in on the conversation. He heard a statistic that said about 90 percent of families have a lesbian in them and when he confronted his sister Elizabeth with this statistic all she could think was, “The last thing I need is my ten-year-old brother telling my dad we’re a statistic.” This prompted her to come forth with her sexual identity to her father.
The night was filled with inspiration and love as the members of PRISM shared their various accounts of coming out of the proverbial closet. For some, the idea of a homosexual lifestyle is beyond comprehension but at the Coming Out Monologues, the audience was immediately taken into a safe environment filled with acceptance and support.
“Tonight we are here to demonstrate our acceptance. Coming out is, or at least should be, a choice,” said Gregory Boyle, senior education major, at the beginning of the night.
He then asked the audience to participate in a moment of silence in recognition of five teenage lives lost in the past three weeks due to sexual preference hate crimes.
“I never understood why people struggled with coming out. I always thought it was easy, but this night showed me how and why it’s so difficult for people to come out,” freshmen psychology major Marlenna Franqui said.
The different stories provided perspective into the many possible outcomes of coming out to family and friends. Although some outcomes were negative, the support could be found within the safe haven of
“A lot of people say they accept homosexuality and lesbianism, and yet they talk trash about the lifestyle,” Angel Diaz, freshman nursing major, said. Members spoke about their struggles listening in on conversations with their peers where derogatory terms were used as everyday dialogue.
Brenda Kish, early childhood education and women and gender studies major said, “It’s not ok to use ‘That’s so gay.’ … It’s not ok to use ‘faggot.’” These terms are widely accepted as common dialogue and are even humorous to some, but they still hold harsh meanings towards their targets.
“There are no pronouns that actually fit how I feel.” Justin Lemley, senior women and gender studies and music major, said.
He went on to describe his struggles with coming out to his friends, and the countless tears he shed while coming out.
“I wouldn’t want to be normal for anything … I guess my story is about pride, there’s so much hatred that we can have for ourselves, all the things that we can hate about ourselves are the things we should love,” Brad Gilbert, junior women and gender studies major, said.
Pride, love, acceptance and support are four themes every audience member was encouraged to share as they left the monologues.