Pirate Pride facilitates coming out stories

by Krystiana Morales

Students filled the Mind and Hearth, waiting to hear stories from their peers about their experiences coming out as LGBTQ+.

Whitworth’s LGBTQ+ club, Pirate Pride, hosted the event on Oct. 11 from 7-8 p.m. to invite students who identify as LGBTQ+ to share their coming out stories. The event began with a brief introduction from sexual diversity advocate Jessica Bondurant. Members of the audience were encouraged to share their stories about being part of the LGBTQ+ community or their experience being an ally. Students were also reminded to be respectful of the individuals sharing their stories and experiences.

As the event progressed, several students shared their stories about coming out as gay, lesbian, queer, transgender or being an ally. During the event, members of Pirate Pride clarified terms that they be unclear to some students in attendance, such as “cisgender.” Cisgender refers to someone who identifies with the gender that was assigned to them at birth, Bondurant said.

Sophomore Madison Artis shared his story about coming out as transgender. Artis grew up in a Mormon household, and had fears about coming out as lesbian to his family before realizing that he was transgender, Artis said. However, his family was very accepting and understanding when he did come out.

It wasn’t until coming to Whitworth that he realized that he identified as male, Artis said.

“I felt that I identified as male but didn’t know what came next,” Artis said.

When he started to make his  transition from female to male, the Whitworth community was very understanding and accepting, Artis said.

“I had the same personality and that doesn’t change about a person, despite any changes in how they identify and/or physical changes throughout the transition process,” Artis said.

Sophomore Abbi Bailey attended the event with friends and said these types of events at Whitworth are important because they help broaden people’s perspectives.

“My favorite thing about Whitworth as a whole is that they try to include and accept everyone and they meet them where they’re at,” Bailey said.

Junior Ashley Fitzgerald attended the event to speak about her experience being an ally.

“It’s not right to judge a person based on what they look like or what their sexuality is,” Fitzgerald said.

The event encouraged members of the LGBTQ+ community to share their experiences and allowed members of Whitworth who do not identify as LGBTQ+ to hear stories from those within the community.

“It was so refreshing to hear from so many people who identified as LGBTQ+ and hear their stories,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s something people at Whitworth need to know. I think it’s good for the culture of Whitworth.”

“There were a lot of brave people tonight,” Bailey said.

Pirate Pride meets every Wednesday at 9:30p.m. in the HUB ABC room for anyone interested in joining the club or learning more about the LGBTQ community.

Contact Krystiana Morales at kmorales17@my.whitworth.edu

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