Written by: Michael Brosseau, ’14
Alumni are one of the biggest assets to a college community. They provide detailed experiences about their college experiences, and serve as a great when it comes to recruiting students, especially here at Marist. Something I have learned during my time at Marist is that our alumni are spread out across the world, and support the College in various capacities. This past week on campus, the LGBT Subcommittee through the Diversity Council here on campus hosted “OUT! In The Real World,” a panel of Marist College alumni and friends, all with one common experience. This panel was unique, made up of LGBT members of Marist alumni, returning to campus to share experiences of joining the real world, and discussing their experiences of coming out almost all over again.
As a senior, it’s incredibly valuable to hear these first hand experiences. You get a feel for what you may feel comfortable doing, how you want to express your sexual orientation on your own terms. This is my reality. In a matter of days, I will be walking across the stage at graduation and joining the Marist alumni community. With that comes the true potential of my first job, and having to go through this experience all on my own. It’s a comfort to know that people were able to do something like this on their own terms, that they never felt their hands were forced.
As a student at Marist, I wasted no time coming out to my classmates, and by extension, the Marist community. This panel served as a great reminder of what I have worked on in terms of personal development over the last four years, finding a work environment that’s accepting of someone regardless of any differences, not just limited to sexual orientation either. Graduating from Marist is bittersweet, but hearing members of this panel speak gives me encouragement that nothing necessarily has to change after graduation. It may take time depending on comfort levels, but I can still be myself in a work place despite anything else.
Members of this committee were made up of people from various industries, teachers, marketers, law enforcement, business, etc. They all have different experiences, and they all made it clear they believed education is something that will make the biggest difference for generations across the board. Education is the key to changing atmospheres around the world that may lack the acceptance people crave and desire. Education will allow them to learn about what it is like to be a member of the LGBT community, and how nerve racking it can be to come out all over again. Some of them address, too, what it felt like bringing same-sex partners to work functions, and how they felt when people asked them, from a heterosexual mindset, to bring their wife or husband.
Some of them were less cavalier about it at first, just rolling with the flow because it was something hey were not ready to address quite yet. But it was a comfort to see that eventually they addressed the elephant in the room, and made it quite clear that their spouse is a male/female, from a homosexual standpoint. Regardless of whether or not they were not out in the work place, somewhat out, or entirely out to their office communities, these men and women provided great insight. It gives me the strongest tool one can possess among a time of uncertainty: hope. To the men and women of this panel, to the members of the Marist College community who attended, thank you for supporting the opportunity to be out in the real world.
By Michael Brosseau, ’14