A panel of LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, queer, and + signifies a desire to be inclusive) members gathered in Blocker Auditorium to discuss their own unique points of views towards their own community and mental health. On Thursday, Oct. 17, two current students and two current employees of the university spoke about their own experiences regarding their sexuality. The members of the panel included India Khanna ‘21, Carter Bernaquez ‘23, Brandon Bassham and Corey Overstreet, who work in Residence Life.
The event began with the floor being opened for questions from the audience. Each question could have been asked directly to an individual or asked generically to everyone. When asked about when each of them became open about their sexuality, each of the four ranged from 17 to 19 years old. This correlated mostly with the beginning of their college academic career. Bassham explained that, “It was a lot easier when I got to college.” One student said that the change of scenery made it less difficult: “It would be easier to come out,” Bernaquez said. Overstreet mentioned that he came out when he was 18 years old and described it as feeling like “I am free.”
One question posed by the audience was if they felt like they needed to tell people about their sexuality. Khanna answered why she felt like she didn’t have to tell anyone. “ I am not for coming out. I don’t owe you that.” Each member of the forum explained that the first step to coming out is accepting it within yourself, and that one of the most challenging things is coming to terms with it for yourself. When did you feel like you are apart of the LGBTQ+ community? Khanna believed feeling part of the LGBTQ+ community only comes after you accept it within yourself.