Students share realities, PRISM members open up and advocate love

PRISM President Taylor Enoch. (Matthew Mance / Photo Assistant)

In the spirit of Queer Awareness Month, PRISM held its annual Coming Out Monologues on Monday, Oct. 15 in the Library Auditorium.

Students from the PRISM community were asked to speak about their experiences coming out regarding their sexuality. Amidst a room of people who came together to show their support, the speakers united to unveil the issues that have heavily impacted their lives.

It was clear that no two stories shared during this evening were the same. The members of the organization provided the audience with different perspectives on the LGBT community.

Morgan Friend, senior music education major, spoke about her experience as a straight ally.

In second grade, Friend became aware of sex and sexuality at an early age. This would serve as a precursor to understanding her older cousin coming out in seventh grade.

Immediately kicked out of his home, Friend’s cousin came to live with her family. She always supported and defended him on the playground when they were children. When a boy came up and said, “I heard your cousin was a fag,” she quipped back, “I heard you were picking your nose the other day.”

During her high school and college years, others within her group of friends felt comfortable coming out to her. Friend even began crying when recalling a friend in his senior year of college who had a hard time coming out because he didn’t want to disappoint his little brother who idolized him so much.

After facing a traumatizing car accident and surviving, Friend explained that she was given a second chance to continue being a supporter. “This is my fight. This is the thing nearest and dearest to my heart,” Friend said. “I want to become more involved in the LGBT community within this country. I won’t feel right until people realize what is the definition of ‘love.’”

Another monologue reflected on a different matter — coming out as transgender. Senior women’s and gender studies major, Remy Lourenco, opened the door for communication on this issue by sharing his story.

“Hi, my name is Remy and I’m addicted to coming out,” Lourenco said, acknowledging that he’s come out several times — first as bisexual, then as lesbian, and now as transgender.

In high school, he knew he wasn’t a girl, but didn’t know there was another option. Puberty was especially hard, feeling the need to hide his physical assets. A projector screen showed a photo of Lourenco from only six months ago, wearing a short dress, heels and having long hair. This contrasted the individual standing before the audience with a shaved head and wearing male clothing.

Lourenco explained that it was his girlfriend Megan who inspired the most recent coming out, encouraging him to try wearing guys’ clothes for a week and see what happens. Now Lourenco explained that he is more confident than ever with himself and his sexuality.

“I’m a son, boyfriend, student and expert cuddler. There are a lot of aspects to my personality and gender is one of them,” Lourenco said. “If you’re going to remember something about me, let it be the cuddling, dammit!”

Cultural roots and traditions heavily impacted the coming out story of one gay male, who wished to remain anonymous. He shared how his ethnicity made his situation especially difficult.

Before coming out, he was bullied in school about his race and religion. During adolescence, he began feeling attracted to males but unsuccessfully tried to date girls. For three months in high school,  he told friends that he was bisexual, but didn’t tell his family. However, his cousin who went to the same school found out from mutual friends and threatened to out him to his parents.

Eventually his family found out and looked down upon him. They felt it could be dangerous for him to completely come out, worrying it would compromise the family’s reputation. During this dark time, he explained finding comfort in his younger sister. She took it really well and was his rock, he said. It was because of her and other cousins that he was able to finally be happy and comfortable in his own skin.

In spite of the difficult challenges that these individuals faced in coming out to the world around them, it was a significant turning point that shaped their lives.

PRISM President Taylor Enoch explained that the overall goal of the monologues is to create a movement for advocacy and love. Enoch noted the violent risk individuals face when coming out and powerfully quoted Harvey Milk, saying, “If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door.”