Hannah Dunn, Queer
Junior, Integrated Social Studies Education
INVOLVEMENTS AT OU:
F-Word Performers, Open Doors, EWO (treasurer), Religious In(Queer)ies; LGBT Center Staff member (2011-2012)
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE OUT?:
Being out means accepting myself and loving myself for who I truly am. I don't have to hide a major aspect of my identity or be ashamed of that identity. Being visibly out means that others can hopefully learn from my experiences and see that life is so much better once you begin to live it truthfully.
WHY ARE YOU PROUD?:
I am proud because there is no reason to be ashamed of my identity. Yes, I identify as queer, but that is not something that should be shameful or painful. We need to learn to value and celebrate each unique piece of ourselves and others. I'm proud because I am living openly and freely, and that gives me more happiness and hope than I ever felt while in the closet.
WHAT WAS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART ABOUT COMING OUT?:
The most difficult part of coming out was coming out to myself. I saw so many contradictions between potentially being gay and being a Christian, and it took me years to figure it out. I had to decide if I was ok with being gay before I could expect anyone else to be ok with it. That process of soul-searching was really hard, but it has made me stronger and more convicted to spread the idea that it is possible to be gay and be a Christian.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS WHO COME OUT?:
Coming out might be hard, but it's harder to deny that part of you and stay in the closet. Seek support from friends or family who you know would stand behind you or find organizations on campus or in the community to help you. And believe that you are perfect when you are yourself, and you don't need to hide that.
THOUGHTS FOR NON-LGBT PEOPLE ABOUT LGBT PEOPLE AND CONCERNS:
Being gay is an important part of my identity, but it is not the only part. Don't judge people solely based on their sexual orientation. Get to know them. Even if you might not agree with their sexual orientation, you will still find that they're pretty awesome people if you give them a chance.