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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Q Open Mic for National Coming Out Day

Students+spending+time+in+the+Queer+Student+Center.

Students spending time in the Queer Student Center.

On Oct. 11, the Queer Student Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston held an open mic in celebration of National Coming Out Day. With around 40 people in attendance, 11 students performed in the Ryan Lounge on the third floor of McCormack Hall. From 7–9 p.m., the Q showcased guitar players, a dancer, comedy, and some spoken-word poetry, along with different members and nonmembers taking the mic to tell their coming out stories. One straight nonmember told his sister’s story and what her sexuality meant to their parents. 
At 7:10 p.m., the first performer, freshman Lia Cohen-Odiaga, was introduced. On guitar, Cohen-Odiaga performed her original song, Earbuds. In her prelude to the song, she told her own coming out story and how she saw it as a power move. “I think what in coming out is my power move. We talk about power moves a lot; it’s when I can do shit that straight people get to do, no problem. For example, straight people can fall in love at first sight—no one cares.” About Earbuds she said, “This is a song I wrote, about falling in love at first sight—it’s a true story.”
After Cohen-Odiaga’s song, Jonathan Daniels took the stage to perform a dance to Ciara’s Level Up. Though unsure at first, Daniels got right into it and stunned the crowd while their cheers filled the room.
Ten minutes in, the audience was dismissed for a short break to the food table. There, the people from the Q had laid out different snacks such as pretzels, chips and salsa, fruit, and an assortment of juices. People talked and mingled until they gradually went back to the inner semicircle of armchairs and couches with 25 seats lining the back.
A Q leader, Ashley, told the room that anyone was welcomed up to do or say anything. Daniels went back up to tell how he came out. “One of the lines I will always use to repeat to anybody who’s having a hard time coming out because they’re afraid of support, is, ‘you either love me for who I am and for how I am or you leave me.’”
A lot of people talked about the cultural implications of coming out in different cultures. One girl, Ala McIntosh, spoke about her roots while bringing her then-girlfriend to a family party. “My grandmother, we come from a Caribbean background, [is] Jamaican.” She spoke on what homosexuality means in Jamaica and went on about how her grandmother and family members were okay with her sexuality and that she was “nervous for no reason.” She then sat down in the middle of the stage and performed a spoken-word poem about love and relationships.
There were a few more acts, another coming out story, and another pair of musicians performed a song. Afterwards, freshman Chloe Thackeray came up to the stage for a comedy set. She talked about her coming out in a small town in South Carolina, a town where a teacher got fired for being gay. She described her home state as “corn and racism.” Her last words for hope were, “No matter how you feel, just remember you could be the little sad gay kid stuck in a corn field. Like, you’re gonna do better, I promise. Everything gets a little bit better sometimes.”
The announcements near the end were given by coordinator Porsha Wilkins. Part of the end was the mention of the upcoming “L.V.N.D.R. Talks” on Oct. 17. L.V.N.D.R. stands for: Loving, Validating, Non-conforming, Diversity, Resource. There, the Q will offer resources and a safe space for people to talk about whatever they need. They want to bring forth dialogue on a large scale. The Q also has plans for a spooky movie night on Halloween. They will be playing the Rocky Horror Picture Show.