LGBT Students and Staff Celebrate National Coming Out Day With Story-Telling Circle

(Oct. 11, 2012) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) students and staff shared and listened to coming-out stories at “Domestic Integrity: Stories Of Coming Out at Home” in honor of National Coming Out Day.

 

The event, sponsored by the LGBT Resource Center and the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, was held at 333 E. Grand River Ave. — the building formerly known as Barnes and Noble.

 

Attendees formed a story-telling circle where they were each given 10 minutes to share their personal stories about how they came out to their families and friends.

 

While some participants were “pretty accepted” and “faced no judgment” among their family and peers after they came out, others did not have it so easy.

 

Freshman Ameko Stevenson said his mother refused to talk to him for three weeks once he told her he was gay.  Stevenson, who comes from a very religious and homophobic family, was apprehensive about coming out after seeing other boys at his high school being bullied because of their sexuality.  “I was very nervous and scared,” he said.

 

After coming out to his two best friends and receiving positive feedback, he decided it was time to tell his mother.  Stevenson proudly shared that his mother is becoming “more accustomed” to his lifestyle.

 

Senior Aidan Clark shared that his sexuality has put a strain on he and his father’s relationship.  His father, who is a deacon at church, was floored when he came out, and even suggested that he see a psychiatrist.  “He didn’t like that particular part about me,” Clark said.

 

While he still talks to his father on a regular basis, Clark’s sexuality is still a taboo topic to his father.  “He never asks me about who I’m dating,” he said.

 

A few students explained that it was harder for them to personally accept and come to terms with their sexuality than it was for their peers.

 

Michael Lemus, a freshman, admitted to starving himself once he realized he was gay.  “I felt my body didn’t deserve the sustenance needed to survive,” he said.  Lemus said that he hated himself and thought he was a “horrible creature in God’s eyes.”

 

While it did take Lemus some time to fully embrace his sexuality, he said that he is now “perfectly content” and knows that “God loves His creatures no matter who they are.”

 

The event was successful in bringing LGBT students and staff together to share their coming out stories.  Each person had a different experience, but everyone was still able to relate to one another in some way. Assistant director for the LGBT Resource Center, Deanna Hurlbert, said, “Giving people a chance to tell their stories is just as important if not more.”

–Evann Webb

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