Coming out at UNH
I transferred to UNH as a sophomore and had previously attended Keene State College, a very small campus with not very much LGBTQ+
activism or support. I came out to two close friends when I was 15, but had not been out to anyone else, not even my parents. I attended one alliance meeting and immediately felt surrounded by support and comfort. Everyone was so understanding of any insecurities I had with my sexuality that I had not yet overcome, and welcomed me without questioning. Never before had I felt so free to be myself and express my sexual identity. I began regularly attending alliance meetings and events, soon forming a close bond with the group. The strength that I found from this lead me to coming out to my family and friends.
By the end of last year, the former chair of alliance had asked if I planned on running for any positions. Surprised, I said that it hadn’t crossed my mind. With some thought and discussion, I was encouraged to run for alliance chair of the 2009-2010 year. After I was elected, I started to really get involved in the Diversity Support Coalition and each of its member groups. Doing this made me realize that there can be nothing more amazing than having such a collaboration of identities, backgrounds, and ideas all meshed to form a community together. Getting to know the people from the DSC was like becoming part of a family, fostering each other’s ideas and coming together to help fight for social justice. I felt incredibly strengthened by being involved in something so active and passionate about equality.
I don’t know where I would be right now if I hadn’t come to UNH. I can’t imagine anywhere I belong more. It has shaped me into the person I am today; it has been a support system for coming to terms with my sexuality. I had never felt surer of who I am or what I stand for until I came to UNH and was brought to such wonderful, accepting people. Being able to speak about my own sexuality and LGBTQ+ rights has given me confidence in myself that I would have never otherwise had. It’s given me a voice for what I believe in most, and I can easily say that I truly found myself when I came to UNH.