|Honorable Mention - Best Slideshow
"Fear is Only a Verb if You Let it Be"
|2008 KarMel Scholarship Submission|
|KarMel Scholarship 2008|
|Description of Submission: "This is a slideshow that I created by using pictures I had taken and adding quotes and my own thoughts to describe my own coming out process. Although I grew up in an accepting family and knowing gay and lesbian people, it has still been a big challenge for me to realize my sexual orientations and be proud.
I recently started coming out - about two months ago - and have overall found it to be a very liberating experience. It took me awhile to accept the fact that I am a lesbian, and for a long while I struggled with identifying as a "lesbian." Something about that word was so unfamiliar and scary. But I knew that I am not straight, and that I'm attracted to women. For awhile I even wondered if everyone was at least bisexula, or pansexual, and they just didn't realize it. Isn't being gay normal? Keeping this part of myself a secret had a very negative effect on the way I thought about myself and interacted with other people.
When I finally decided to come out, I first talked to an older friend from church who lives with her partner. I eventually came out to my parents, whose first reaction was shock and disbelief. They suggested that perhaps I was bisexual, and my mom told me that being gay didn't 'have to be like a badge', a reaction which I included in the slideshow. That line struck me, because I don't want to keep my sexual orientation a secret. I am done with closets, and I believe that the only way that treatment of gay and lesbian people will improve is for us to be ourselves and to be proud.
My mom also said thequote about my sister not understanding about me being gay. However, as reactions go, my parents have been great about it. My dad went to a PFLAG meeting a few nights ago. I've been going to my schools gay-straight alliance since last year, although as a 'straight ally.'
About a third of my friends are gay, so that wasn't especially difficult to tell them. And so far, my other friends have been wonderful and supportive.
I actually used this slideshow to come out to some people, the ones who I'm not super close with and don't see every day, by posting it online. The slide with the quote about the basketball player is based on an experience in which someone joked about me sleeping with a basketball player during a group discussion. At first, I didn't say anything, and just laughed it off. But then I became angry at myself; by not saying otherwise, I had basically affirmed that I was straight, and now I was stuck in that awful closet. So during the 'check out' session, I came out to eeryone in the group. That was my first time coming out to more than one person, and it was actually to seven adults who I didn't know very well. While I was scared, I knew that I had to do it-- I would be angry at myslef if I didn't. And I was so proud afterwards, it was definitely worth it.
That is what coming out is all about to me: embracing myslef, loving myself and being proud." - Anonymous
Why Karen and Melody Liked It: We loved how she incorporated so many of the words that were said to you during your coming out process in the slideshow. It's a great way to help educate others on how their words can effect us at such a vulnerable time.