A night for sharing stories on stage turned into an interactive experience as the crowd laughed, cried and snapped to the words spoken at the Queer Monologues.
For Madeleine Moore, the LGBTQ intern at MICA and also co-organizer of the event, this was the type of reaction she said she hoped to see.
“This night is a very vulnerable night for people, it is an exciting night for people and it is a scary night,” Moore said. “There needs to be a lot of trust with the audience, there needs to be a connection and there needs to be a shared experience.”
The seven performers did touch on vulnerable topics throughout the spoken word or poems. Issues such as beauty standards, name crisis and identity and how to come out as an LGBTQA+ person, were brought up and the audience supported them with each laugh or loud burst of applause.
An audience of about 60 attended to the Queer Monologues, an event dedicated to showcasing the stories of the queer community. One of the performers, Mykell Hatcher-McLarin, spoke on wanting to have a baby but not wanting to carry her in his poem, “Ameen.”
Hatcher-McLarin said he felt this topic is not discussed enough, especially from the perspective of a black person. When it comes to his poetry he said that it is important to share what others do not.
“If there’s something I want to talk about that isn’t being talked about then I have to talk about it,” Hatcher-McLarin said.
Other performers also possessed the confidence to share their stories. Ashley Douglas, for example, noticed that she loves herself more this year and after seeing the application for performers she applied.
“I felt like for me to be able to love myself I have to share myself. One of the most healing things we can do is to be vulnerable,” Douglas said.
Douglas shared a poem titled, “A Loud Poem, or Why Transitioning Isn’t the Same as Coming Out of the Closet,” in which she discussed her struggle with a desire to be be pretty like her friends, and how it affected her while growing up.
The open vulnerability expressed during the night was light-hearted at times. In her monologue, “What I Wish I Could Say to Everyone I Come Out To,” Vita Pierzchala, a junior English major, explained how hard it was for her to come out.
“I didn’t want it to be a dark and heavy thing because that isn’t what bisexual is to me,” Pierzchala said. “It’s a neutral to positive thing and my monologue was for the people I imagined I would come out to but was too scared.”
The Queer Monologues provided an opportunity for honest discussion on the issues that LGBTQA+ community members face.
“There is a reason it is called ‘in the closet’ because we are often shut away and told that certain parts of ourselves aren’t tolerated or accepted,” Moore said.
“This is a place, where, not only do we accept it but we encourage it.”
Such a space not only helped performers share intimate stories, it also gave the audience a chance to learn as well.
Mitul Patel, a sophomore environmental science major, experienced Queer Monologues for the first time and said the event is a place where people can learn.
“Expressing one’s personal experience is the best way to learn because learning from a book or from an article is less effective than from someone who has actually experienced it,” said Patel. “There’s personal attachment that you can’t get from a written word versus a spoken word.”
Queer Monologues provides opportunities for the general campus population to hear members of the queer community speak openly about their experiences. It is important for the queer community to hear, but also for the “allied” community, said Fiona Jardine, who is a part of the LGBTQ involvement staff at MICA.
“We all hear things in the media but it is very difficult to relate to that unless it is a real face and a real voice,” Jardine said.
Having access to events such as the Queer Monologues on is important for students, said senior finance major Kem Golding.
“Hearing other people’s experience, stuff you may think you’re the only person going through, and then you can hear other people go through it too,” Golding said. “You feel more comfortable on campus.”
“Where we’ve been, we’re we are, where we’re going,” read the Pride Month 2015 pamphlets. Through events like the Queer Monologues, a path can be cleared for members of the LGBTQA+ community to feel comfortable with their identities.
Naomi Harris is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at email@example.com