The National Coming Out Day Open Mic event provided an open and safe environment for people to share their stories through poetry, music and monumental events in LGBTQ history Wednesday in the Campus Center Ballrooms.
About 40 people attended the event, with eight participants who shared something with the group.
Savannah Garcia, assistant director of writing in the Academic Success Center, organized the event in celebration of National Coming Out Day, hoping to bring awareness for the LGBTQ community.
Garcia herself recited two original poems titled “Today we are not Latina, Today we are not Lesbian” and “Sorry, I’m not sorry.”
Garcia said that “Today we are not Latina. Today we are not Lesbian.” is about being with her girlfriend and realizing that being Latina and lesbian is just a small part of their identities and who they are.
She said the poem was inspired by an experience that happened that morning.
“Despite our pride in being lesbian Latinas, in these moments we are just us. We are just me and you, and we are two women who love each other,” Garcia said. “Today we are not Latina. Today we are not lesbian. Today we are human.”
Angela Gonzalez, senior biology major, helped coordinate the event and shared a song by Girl in Red titled “Girls.” She said that she turned to YouTube and music when she was exploring her sexuality.
“The YouTubers that I found would write their own songs and I just finally felt that there’s a song that speaks to me and makes me feel validated in who I am,” Gonzalez said. “Because I was questioning so much, it made me feel like it’s not just me and these feelings are real.”
Dominique Cortez, junior psychology major, initially came to observe and support rather than participate, but recited an original poem titled “Dear Future Someone.”
“I pray for our future, clear as can be. The Lord has revealed that you and me will soon be together as one someday, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Cortez said.
She said the poem was about her coming to the conclusion that she does not know the answers to everything, and that she knows there is a plan for her future.
“I felt the need to write it to whoever I ended up marrying whether they were a man, a woman, or whoever. It was going to be words of wisdom to the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with and, ultimately, its loving me for me.”
Cortez said that she was hesitant to speak up because she was not sure she belonged.
“I’m going to go ahead and speak because that is exactly why we don’t have more people speak, so I wanted to speak up and say something because there are others who question who they are and their identity,” Cortez said.
John Paul Calavitta, adjunct English and writing professor, recited an original poem about climate change and gay marriage titled “Can’t Talk to a Glacier Sober.”
Calavitta said he enjoys combining topics that seem to be polar opposites in his poetry.
“Nature is not given rights, LGBTQ people are not given human rights. So we have two classes of beings that are not given rights, so that was the impulse to bring those two together,” Calavitta said. “That all goes into the poem as these cultures of denial, oppression and suppression.”
David Gonzalez can be reached at email@example.com.