Oct. 11 was National Coming Out Day, but it was also the 5-year anniversary of Brittney Williams’s mother’s death. As a speaker for Out in Public’s Second Annual LGBTQ Monologues, Williams, a University of Michigan School of Social Work alum, shared her story of how she did not come out to her mother before she passed. Williams concluded her monologue on a hopeful note — that her mother would have accepted her.
Coinciding with National Coming Out Day, the monologues were held at the Ford School of Public Policy featuring student speakers with about 150 attendees. The theme of this year’s monologues was “More Pride. More Color,” and the event aimed to create a space for intersecting identities to be represented and heard equally.
The student presenters shared stories and experiences in the form of story-telling, poetry and more. Students spoke of identities, coming out and navigating families and college.
“When I realized that the monologues fell on this day, this year, I was torn because I didn’t know if I wanted to talk or not,” Williams said. “But I felt like it was important because I’ve spoken a lot about my relationship with my mother in every single way, except for related to my queerness.”
Rackham student Alex Kime presented their story through the form of a poem titled “The Ongoing Draft of an Ars Poetica.” Kime’s poem covered experiences from their childhood to now, including their time with theater and poetry writing.
“I began to try and dim my shine, cried again and again at the name Alexander,” Kime said. “Did an impression at a cast party, and suddenly I was Edna, it was time to be flamboyant and loud.”
Rackham student Jess Millar shared their experiences of being non-binary at the University, especially in STEM fields such as statistics.
“Sometimes stuff that I heard from women was actually harder to hear and unprovoked as I started to transition more to non-binary,” Miller said. “I’d get told by women, we don’t need more men in science. We need more women leaders.”
Millar said they can still be there for women in science and understand the experiences they face in the field.
Following the planned monologue speakers, an open mic session was held. A few members of the audience shared their stories and experiences, drawing inspiration from the previous speakers.