Photo by Brandon Hamilton
AACC celebrated Coming Out Week with a drag show, a comedy performance and a panel during which students told their personal stories.
Students observed Coming Out Week from Oct. 6 through Oct. 13 to address issues in the campus LGBTQ community and raise awareness among students.
The Gay-Straight Alliance student club sponsored the drag show that kicked off Coming Out Week on Friday, Oct. 6.
Abbi Kadabra, “D.C. Drag Wars” season one winner, and her team of queens—including three AACC students—headlined AACC’s Drag-A-Palooza.
All proceeds went to Royal Court Charities, a partner of the Trevor Project program, to support the prevention of LGBTQ youth suicide.
The show raised $1,400, $400 more than last semester’s show.
Comedian: Loosen the Bible Belt
Lesbian comedian Kristen Becker performed for AACC students on Oct. 9. The act usually includes Pastor Jay Bakker, but he was unable to make the show because he missed a flight.
Becker said she and Bakker represent two different perspectives on beliefs often viewed as in conflict, but they come together and laugh at the same topics and material.
“It’s just about trying to put love in the world,” Becker said. “There’s a big divide between religion and the gay community.”
Despite Bakker’s unexpected absence, students said they still liked the act.
“I listen to a lot of comedians, so I like raunchy, but [I] also [liked] that she was serious at the same time,” Michael Schlossenerg, a second-year psychology major, said.
Panel: My Coming-Out Journey
During an open panel on Oct. 10, members of the GSA discussed coming out as LGBTQ and shared their personal stories.
“Life’s too short to hide and not be yourself,” Nick Nadeau, a fifth-year engineering major and the GSA’s public relations chair, said.
Four GSA members—students Nadeau, Mitch Noone-Meng, Garrett Hutchinson and Erica Romero—talked about their personal experiences of coming out and transitioning.
Noone-Meng, a third-year transfer studies student, said he first started feeling accepted as a transgender boy when his 8th-grade gym teacher supported him in going to the boys’ side of the gym during gender-based activities.
Noone-Meng’s father, AACC English professor Dave Meng, told the crowd he didn’t understand transgender issues at first. Meng learned alongside his son as Noone-Meng discovered who he was.
GSA faculty adviser Forrest Caskey and world languages chair Scott Cooper held a double-feature film screening and discussion in CALT on Oct. 11.
The films were “Freedom to Marry,” a 2016 documentary about the marriage equality movement, and a 2015 episode of the PBS series “Frontline,” called “Growing Up Trans,” that goes into detail about the struggles of transgender kids and their families.
Rainbow Network Training
To conclude the week, Dr. Robert Hurd, an English professor, hosted a Rainbow Network Training session on Oct. 13.
The AACC Rainbow Network—ARN—is a group of college faculty, administrators and staff who advocate for LGBTQ equality and actively work to prevent homophobia on campus.
All members complete a training session and in return receive a Rainbow Network door sign that identifies their offices or classrooms as safe places for people of all genders and sexualities.