By Kelly Corbett
PRISM hosted its annual Coming Out Monologues, a night full of inspiration, tears and laughter as students of the LGBTQ community shared their coming-out stories, on Wednesday, Oct. 9 and Thursday, Oct. 10.
“This place is unabashedly queer,” said Jordan Stefanski, sophomore nursing major and PRISM’s Queer Awareness Month Chair. “Might as well call it ‘TCNgay,’” he chuckled.
Students and peers were invited to lend their ears as they gathered in the Library Auditorium for the two-night event. This event sought to shed light on National Coming Out Day, which was celebrated on Friday, Oct. 11.
Lauren Purdon, a sophomore biology major, explained to the audience how in high school she started having crushes on a wide range of people.
“I still like boys, so I can’t be gay,” she told us. Purdon was right — she wasn’t gay, nor was she straight. She identifies as pansexual, in fact — meaning she was attracted to those who identified with various sexual and gender identities. Her face lit up as she said, “Finding the word for what I was has made me so happy.”
When Adam Fisher, senior graphic design major, strutted across the stage in a pair of shiny black stilettos, he livened up the audience as he said, “I knew I was gay when I could walk better in heels than most women.”
Many young adults in Fisher’s position struggle with the reality of coming out to their parents. However, Fisher had a weight lifted off his shoulders when his parents confessed that they already knew. At the end of his act, he said, “I’m so comfortable with who I am.”
“Acceptance is the key to being happy in life,” said Billy Wolf, a freshman secondary education and English double major. Growing up in a traditional Catholic household, coming out to his mom wasn’t easy.After he mustered up the courage to tell her, he was greeted with disappointment instead of a warm hug.
This wasn’t the end of Billy’s story, however. It took some time, but he finally received his mother’s blessing.
“I’m really blessed and lucky today. I have a good support system, not everyone is as fortunate,” Wolf said.
Which was true. The night illustrated some of the difficulties members of the LGBT community deal with. One of the most prominent concerns was whether their families would accept them. Some were forced out of their homes and even attempted self-harm.
Stefanski, the last act of the night, explained how when he first visited the College’s campus on a college tour, he saw a Queer Awareness sign nested in the lawn of the Social Sciences Building. “It was the first time I ever felt like I was in a place where I would be accepted,” he said. The College happened to be the only college he applied to.
The audience learned throughout the night that many of the acts were thankful they decided to come to the College, where they feel accepted.
As the night winded down, the stage was opened up to any other students who weren’t given the opportunity to do an act, but who were inspired to share their stories.
A handful of students, inspired by the acts of the night, briefly opened up to the audience. The Library Auditorium had ultimately transformed into a peaceful, loving and safe environment.
In the closing remarks of the night, Stefanski said, “Keep calm and queer on!”