On the night of Monday Oct. 3, Sarah Castro and Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy facilitated a “Coming Out to Family” workshop through the Lucy Cross Center. Sarah is a senior that does not work directly for Lucy Cross, but was interested in facilitating a workshop based on her own experiences. She believed that it was important to create a safe space for queer students to share their thoughts about coming out. Sarah took this idea to Dr. Kathryn Norsworthy, who is a professor through the Rollins Graduate Counseling Program, and they worked with Lucy Cross to begin the workshop.
The idea behind the workshop was to expose and prepare attendees for different methods of coming out: what could happen, what to plan for, and “the fall-out” after making the decision to come out. Kathryn and Sarah are both members of the LGBTQ+ community, and so through brainstorming and recalling different personal experiences, they came up with the idea of a workshop (as opposed to holding a meeting and discussing major issues and ideas in one sitting). Sarah said that she and Dr. Norsworthy wanted the biggest takeaway from these series of workshops to be that students have “confidence in them, and that they know their personal situations and what is best for them.” Their workshop was focused around this understanding of one’s self. This includes understanding the personalities and attitudes of different family members and protecting one’s self in the long run, because these things do not always end up how we hope they will.
Sarah and Kathryn began the meeting with an introduction of what the term “coming out” means to the LGBTQ+ community. For me, I questioned society when discussing “coming out” because coming out implies that there is still darkness around being queer. For some of us, coming out is not feasible because financial stability could be an issue, families could disown us, or we are worried that society will shun us. Before coming out, there is a constant fear of outing ourselves or those around us outing us. Coming out is a process of acceptance within one’s self. Once that is completed, evaluating family situations will usually be the next step, and then slowly easing into fully coming out if it is proper. Sarah and Dr. Norsworthy invite anyone that has been struggling with their sexual identity. This workshop is a safe space to voice concerns, opinions, and help this community become stronger than ever.