CSUSB’s LGBTQ community gathered on October 9 for the annual Coming Out Monologues open mic event. The Santos Manuel Student Union’s Queer and Transgender Resource Center hosted the event to participate in National Coming Out Day.
Multiple students got up to tell their stories at the SMSU theater. The event provided a space for the LGBTQ community to provide support and insight to one another through sharing their struggles with coming out as queer and/or transgender.
Some told their story spontaneously, others had prepared monologues, and one student even shared a long emotional poem describing his history of abuse, loss of father, and difficulty accepting his sexuality.
Michelle Oberlies, a senior biochemistry major shared her story at the event. “It feels good to speak,” said Oberlies, “I’m pretty open about myself regularly, but rarely is there a specific audience ready to listen to my story, so it feels nice.”
The event was meant to create a comfortable and non-judgmental environment for people to tell their sensitive stories.
Madison Thompson, a QTRC employee, organized and hosted the event. “The event is a place for people to share their stories, but most people show up just to listen,” said Thompson.
Most of the speakers have been out for a long time and enjoy the opportunity to share their stories with curious people who may not be comfortable enough with their sexuality to admit it.
Kimberly-Anne Anacleto, an SMSU staff member, attended the event in support of fellow LGBTQ community members. “It’s always really nice to hear others stories,” said Anacleto, “It’s a good reminder of how everyone’s journey is different. It’s a celebration of recognizing our truths and embracing them.”
The event brought in 51 people and Thompson expressed her satisfaction with how many people came. “It’s one of our biggest events,” said Thompson, “It’s big enough to draw a crowd but it’s small enough for people to feel comfortable speaking.”
“I felt very comfortable,” said Anacleto, “The setting of the theater creates an intimate safe space that encourages the community to tell their stories.”
Many of these students opened up about some of their deepest issues, including instances of rape and child abuse. At times, the room was filled with laughter, while at other times it was silent and dreary as speakers spoke about their greatest traumas.
Regardless of the tone of the speeches, the audience provided nothing but applause and support in recognition of the speakers’ contribution to the LGBTQ community.