Ryan Vollrath, Queer
INVOLVEMENTS AT OU:
ALLY (Community Service Chair), The F word and Alpha Lambda Delta (Fundraising Co-Chair)
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE OUT?:
Personally, I find it important to be out so that your voice is heard. Our experiences and voices as a community of LGBTQQIAA people are empowered through the struggles we must fight through when coming out. Also, coming out is a bond that all of us have within our community. No matter our personal differences, each of us shares the memories or expectations of fear and anxiety when we came out.
WHY ARE YOU PROUD?:
I am proud of being a queer feminist and breaking down gender stereotypes through the way I live and express myself. I am most proud that I feel like I have changed the minds of more than a few people about LGBTQQIAA people.
WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT COMING OUT?:
The most difficult part of coming out was fear that being queer would somehow impact the relationships I had with my friends and family, not to mention the people I would meet in my future. Fortunately, my fears were unfounded now that I can look back on my coming out experience.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS WHO COME OUT?:
Coming out is frightening, there is no doubt about it. Even the people you are sure will be most okay with your coming out can still serve as a source of anxiety or worry. The advice I found most helpful was the old adage, "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter."
THOUGHTS FOR NON-LGBT PEOPLE ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE AND CONCERNS:
Athens is a very LGBTQQIAA friendly community. I would urge all of you who support the community in any way to take your acceptance back to your hometowns and pave the way for acceptance everywhere.