By Rebecca Hazen
GLOBAL, the social organization for LGBTQIA students at the University of Houston, put on a performance of The Coming Out Monologues on Thursday, October 20, as a part of National Coming Out Month.
The Coming Out Monologues were inspired by The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler and started by students at UC Riverside in 2007. UH adopted the program in 2015. Performers each read a monologue that was either personal, or submitted by a UH student.
“This is not my coming out monologue. This is ours,” Richard Sacaris, the president of GLOBAL, told the audience. “Tonight we celebrate the movement and we celebrate the honesty. We celebrate our personal and collective growth. But most importantly, we celebrate the telling. Our voice is the greatest tool for change, and we ask you to help us amplify it.”
“Growing up in the same small town doesn’t prepare a person coming to the biggest university in Texas. When I came to college, I met and befriended someone who would introduce me to the life and community I have today. Turns out, he was gay, too. You could imagine my surprise when I found out that I wasn’t the only gay kid in Houston…,” one performer said to laughter in the crowd. “I loved going to the [LGBTQ Resource Center]. Visiting the center just became part of my day. I got exposed to culture that I had never even heard of. I can’t imagine how life would be had I not become a part of this community. I have never been more myself.”
Performer Priyank Pillai started out his monologue by reading the names of all those who died in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. “Forty-nine hearts. Forty-nine hearts in Orlando. Love is greater than hate. I want everyone to say it. Love is greater than hate! Love is greater than hate! For Orlando.”
“I had the hardest time trying to figure out who I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to construct the new gay me. It took some experimentation and dumb mistakes to find out that the me that I was looking for was just…me,” another performer said.
Not all coming out stories are easy, as one performer reminded us: “People will say that there is help and hope out there, but my mind is telling me that people don’t give a shit about my life. They just want me to keep living. They don’t care if I suffer all the way to my grave to do it. But you know what? I am still waiting for God. I’m still waiting for that someone to reach out and give a fuck. I still exist! Even though everyone that gets too close will eventually treat me like I’m dead. I’m here! I didn’t ask to be alive, but I’m still here!”
“At first, I didn’t realize I was different. I always looked at guys and girls. I thought it was normal that everyone noticed everyone. I noticed the smiles on guys, and the beautiful hair on girls. There was also this feeling of ‘you can’t’ that would splash sometimes in my brain…It was more like, you shouldn’t…You shouldn’t want to kiss her. There is a social media site called Tumblr. On this website was a graph about different sexualities. And suddenly ‘you shouldn’t’ turned in to…‘huh’… There was an enormous sense of relief when I saw the word ‘bisexual,’” performer Emily Goldstein said.
One performer with a purple wig took to the stage to read, “So I whip out my personal copy of the gay agenda… Naturally, it is coated in glitter… Attend to the schedule as follows… Item 10: Become a personification of every gay stereotype that has ever existed. No, you know what? I don’t need something like this to tell me how to live my life… This is stupid. [Performer took off his wig.] I don’t need fucking guidelines to be gay.”
When asked about why it was important to hold such an event, Pillai said, “It is a good chance for students to experience our truths. Not only does it spread awareness and education, it also brings the community together.”
“There are some things that people think are only ‘gay’ things. But a lot of the struggles that we have, even in this context, are universal. Feelings of desperation, breaking stereotypes, all of those things we feel in our everyday life, and it helps people who aren’t in the community identify with people who are in the community,” Goldstein said.