Brandon Marting (he/him)
At the start of April, Umich’s Stonewall Democrats, a subcommittee of College Democrats, put on our third annual Come Out Speak Out (COSO).
Stonewall Democrats is dedicated to continuing the expansion of queer rights and protections, along with pushing for progressive policies and the election of LGBTQ candidates. The COSO is meant to be a space for queer people to share their stories, be vulnerable, and come together as a community. During the event we heard a variety of stories both shared by the individual themself and by surrogate speakers. Exploration of sexuality and gender expression, coming out stories, and the daily work of being oneself were all on the table.
We live in a normative world. Heterosexuality is assumed until proven otherwise. Queerness is deviance, existing outside of the traditional structure of heteronormativity and cisnormativity; LGBTQ+ people's existence is resistance. The boldest form of existence is the dedication to be one's true authentic self. This is most encapsulated when a queer person comes out and shares their intimate truth. However, living as oneself is often difficult and even dangerous. Loss of housing, financial stability, and job security all exist as real risks and worries. These worries often drive queer and trans people to remain in the closet. The path to coming out is unique and specific to every queer person as they travel through their life.
I am proud that my co-chair, committee, and I were able to offer such a space for any to share their truth, and I hope to see continuous growth with attendance. Last year we were in the midst of planning the event when the COVID-19 pandemic happened, and we are very happy that we were able to translate the event onto an online format this year. It speaks to the resilience both in our membership and the greater campus community.
Stonewall Democrats meet weekly on Monday nights at 7pm. Any and all are welcome and we look forward to resuming our meetings in the fall. For more information email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.