Tess McNaughton ‘18: “Growing up, I never was able to express freely how I felt and never had the opportunity to learn about the LGBTQ+ community. There is so much history in the LGBTQ+ that is not talked about or taught regularly in school, and having a GSA that promotes these conversations is essential. Open communication is so important when it comes to questioning one’s sexual or gender orientation, not only from those who have similar feelings as you but to see how your friends support the community. While I knew my friends would support me, being able to have open discussions about their opinions and thoughts before I came out to them was so important to me.
I was always scared to come out in high school when I attended STS. I felt like that was not who I was supposed to be, it was not what was expected of me, so I tried to pretend I did not feel the way I did. I did not want to be labelled and therefore I denied a part of myself until I was overwhelmed with guilt and anxiety. I felt like I was lying to my friends, my family, and myself. It wasn’t until the panel of STS alum came to speak to us in my grade 12 year that I was able to start to come out to myself. I met up with one of the presenters (@the_j_stevens), and finally felt comfortable talking to someone about who I was. The comfort of talking to someone who has been in the same position as you, provides a sense of calm that I would not have been able to achieve if this presentation had not happened.
I’ve now been able to give presentations about LGBTQ+ history at conferences and be a representative at my university as out and proud. Being gay is not my only identity, but it is my sexual identity. By being open about it, I want to be able to help others who may be questioning to know that it does not change anything. The only thing that changes is the confidence you have in yourself.” @tess_mcn #weavingourstories #sayyestosts #diversity #pride #lgbtq #queer #alumni