By Darleen Denno, Staff Writer
Bright yellow, blue and white balloons lined the path to "True Life: I'm out at Hofstra" hosted at the Student Center Theater on Oct. 11. The rainbow-painted door awaited students as they entered the theater to discuss important issues regarding coming out at Hofstra.
"True Life: I'm out at Hofstra" aimed to bring awareness to the community about the difficulty of coming out by presenting a forum for students to pose questions to the panel. Dr. Sara Hinkle facilitated the discussion. The panel consisted of four students: senior Jacquis Watters, junior Luke Miedreich and senior Tyler Greenpope. Hinkle asked the panel difficult questions including: how they knew when they were homosexual, how religion factored into their lives, if and when they came out to their parents and what it was like to be "out" at Hofstra.
The program is a part of the LGBTQ History Month but addressed the recent suicides of homosexual teens. "[Suicide is] a permanent solution for a temporary problem," said Miedreich. The panel advised students that felt helpless to wait it out and talk to someone.
The entire panel expressed their feelings about coming out at Hofstra. After transferring to Hofstra, one student "felt extremely safe to come out." Watters felt a similar sense of security at Hofstra. She decided to attend Hofstra after finding that Hofstra has a Women's Studies major and an LGBT minor. "It set my mind at ease," said Watters.
The panel also offered advice to students who may decide to come out at Hofstra. "Don't feel rushed to come out," the panelist said. "Be who you are."
Less than thirty students attended, making the event more of a close-knit discussion rather than a public forum. More students are anticipated to attend the MSA event next month, according to a panelist. The event was held at a time where students couldn't make it due to classes, according to Watters. The event was held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11; if the event were on a Wednesday during common hour, more students would have attended, claimed Watters.
The small attendance allowed every student the opportunity to ask questions. Caitlyn Walsh asked if everyone on the panel came out on Facebook, to which every panel member said that they did not show their relationship statuses or "interested in" section.