Coming is not limited to the moment you tell a friend, parent, or perhaps even stranger. It seems to be a journey of discovery, re-creation, and/or redefinition. On Tuesday, C The Colgate Center for women's studies along with LGBTQ initiatives continued the tradition the Coming out stories brown bag. This year we had the opportunity to learn about the "coming out" journey's of James Vigilante, Chantel Melendez, and Rabbi Dena Bodian. Each one offered great and different perspectives on sexuality, labels, and language.
James Vigilante told the story of how very young he knew he was " different" per se and was attracted to men (gender or phenotypical sex was not clarified). After a rumor in high school started about him participating in sexual activities with men spread, he became the subject of ridicule. In order to cope and counteract these statements, tried to represent the society's image of masculinity by getting a girlfriend. Although he cared for very much, he knew the relationship could last. He "came out" during his college years when he felt comfortable and found a very supportive and welcoming community and family in LAMDA and Colgate Dischords. James chose to identify as Gay.
Chantel Melendez offered a pan-sexual perspective by explaining that her attraction to a person is not determined or based on sex or gender. She explained the difference between Bi-Sexual and Pan-Sexual by saying bi-sexual was attraction to men or women while pan-sexual identified person don't necessarily restrict to only those two gender identifications. Pan-Sexuals can be attracted to many different genders in between as well. Chantel also brought up a good point by changing the language of "coming out" into "sexual debut" to not negatively stigmatize the experience and be inclusive.
Rabbi Dena Bodian offered the audience a historical perspective by saying things were much different then it is now. Before, same sex couples could not own houses or property together, as well as not get married, or file taxes. Rabbi Dena elaborate don her experience being a lesbian identified Rabbit and how many times people would not let her participate int their church or speak on the basis or her sexual-orientation. Luckily, she has a found a welcoming home in Hamilton.