October 24, 2008

Q&A event draws creative reflections on students’ experiences with coming out

Campus LGBTQ organization Queers & Associates (Q&A) hosted Coming Out Monologues on Wednesday night, featuring performances about students’ personal experiences with coming out.

Antonia Clifford, third-year in the College and president of Q&A, said her own life inspired her to organize the event.

“I participated in a Youth Coming Out Monologues in my town when I was 17—and I wasn’t even comfortable enough to invite my family. Yet the experience of sitting around and just talking about why I came out to anyone at all anchored me in a community, a context, and a safe space,” she wrote in an e-mail interview.

The event began with 10 performances that told personal stories ranging from poems to skits to duets, some written by the performers themselves and some written by their friends. One performance featured a revised version of singer-songwriter Katy Perry’s hit song, “I Kissed A Girl And I Liked It—No, Really.”

While coming out was the clear focus of the evening, some performances addressed topics like stereotyping and hiding from the truth—or “going in,” as it was labeled at the event. When the actors finished their pieces, the floor opened up for audience members to share their own stories. After a brief moment of silence, people came forward, some with prepared speeches and others with the intention of simply sharing their thoughts.

Clifford said that the night was a success.

“Our goal tonight was to create that sort of safe space, and I think it was immensely successful,” she said. “Queers & Associates wanted to host a coming out event to hear those stories, from students of different years, majors, identities, best represent how coming out, and going in is really for everyone.”

The event was one of the first major events in the 5710 Community Lounge, which opened just last year as the new home of Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA) and the LGBTQ programming office.