Mara Hasenstaub, Lesbian
Junior, Recreation Management
INVOLVEMENTS AT OU:
I am a member of Alpha Phi Omega and Alpha Lambda Delta, I am a second year student in the Global Leadership Center, this past fall quarter I was a Peer Mentor for a UC 115 class, I am on the Ohio University Women's Rugby Football Club, I work at West 82, and this quarter I am leading the 30th Spirit of Kairos retreat for Ohio University students.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE OUT?:
It is important to be an ally because the time for equality is NOW. Since the year 2000, the United States has made significant accomplishments in the fight for equality. The more people who are out and the more visible allies there are, the more progress there will be towards equality for all.
WHY ARE YOU PROUD?:
I am most proud of being true to myself. It took a very long time for me to be able to accept who I am and more importantly be proud of who I am. Once I was able to come out to myself I was able to come out to others and not be afraid of the process. I am most proud of being true to myself because once I recognized myself as a member of the LGBTQ community I was able to become more involved within the community and help others who struggled with their identity like I did.
WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT COMING OUT?:
The most difficult part was coming out to people whom I have known since before college. The main reason this was, and still is, difficult is because I come from a pretty conservative town on the west side of Cleveland. Coming out to people whom I have known for a long time is something I still do each and every day. Coming out is a process, not a singular event.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS WHO COME OUT?:
The advice that I would give to others who want to come out is to take your time. As I previously stated, coming out is a process. I feel that coming out to people who are very important first is a good decision. People who are very important to you are more likely to be supportive of you because they know you very well. I would also say to be patient. The process of coming out slowly builds your confidence about your identity, the more people you come out to the easier it gets. And as always, YOU ARE LOVED.
THOUGHTS FOR NON-LGBT PEOPLE ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE AND CONCERNS:
People are people and you are worth just as much as the person sitting next to you. You do not have to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning to support the fight for human rights. To non-LGBT youth: bullying is NEVER okay under any circumstances... Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.