PRIDE!Kent members share stories about coming out to others

Regina Garcia Can

PRIDE!Kent members shared coming out stories during the organization’s weekly meeting Thursday night.

PRIDE!Kent President Leora Rzepka said many students wait until they attend college to openly accept their homosexuality.

Students agreed coming out to their family was not easy. Some of the students said their parents believed it was only a phase; others said they were not judged.

“My mom said the biggest part that she had in accepting me is that it is a hard lifestyle,” said freshman nursing major Darren Stevenson. “She didn’t want to understand that they (parents) can’t protect you from being discriminated.”

Stevenson said it’s normal for parents to not understand homosexuality right when their son or daughter comes out to them.

“If it took me 18 years to figure out who I was, just think about how long would it take a parent to accept and understand what it’s like to be you,” Stevenson said.

PRIDE!Kent Secretary Kat Rybski said students should not be afraid of the opinions their families may have about their lifestyle.

“Your grandma and grandpa – no matter what – they are your family, but they are not you,” Rybski said.

Sophomore biology major Bryan Albright said students may sometimes be surprised by their parents’ reactions. He said that ever since he told his father that he was gay, their relationship is stronger than ever.

“My dad and I are best friends now,” Albright said. “I tell my dad that I love him all the time.”

Also at the meeting, members of the organization also praised the participation of a transgender person in the TV show America’s Next Top Model.

They also encouraged people to attend PRIDE!Kent’s art auction Sept. 18. All profits will benefit the organization, as well as the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland.

Contact minority affairs reporter Regina Garcia Cano at [email protected].