LGBT students, staff to share stories in first ‘Coming Out Monologues’

Zach Sweat

Photo by Zach Sweat
From Left: Natalie Nguyen, Taryn Whorwood, Mariah Moss and Barbara Jean Douglass all will participate in the LGBT Resource Center’s “Coming Out Monologues” Jan. 16.

UNF’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center here at UNF has hosted many events since its establishment in 2006, but none quite like this.

On Jan. 16, the LGBT Resource Center will host its first ever “Coming Out Monologues” presented by UNF students, alumni and faculty.

Barbara Jean Douglass, director of the LGBT Resource Center, said the stories cover a wide spectrum of themes.

“Some of them are funny, some of them are singing, spoken word poetry, there’s really a variety,” she said. “It’s really powerful stories just about human beings and our experiences.”

The “Coming Out Monologues” is essentially a series of theatrical productions of “coming out” stories from the UNF community presented similarly to “The Vagina Monologues.”

Mariah Moss, president of UNF’s Pride Club, which strives to provide a positive social network at UNF for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, is one of the many UNF students performing in the monologues.

“For me it was like a final acceptance of myself,” said Moss, a studio art sophomore. “This was kind of like a reaffirmation of that and making it ok with myself [but] also reaching out to the community.”

Moss said she hopes her presentation will let people attending the event who are struggling with their sexuality know they are not alone.

Performing her personal coming out monologue via spoken word poetry, Taryn Whorwood, a business junior and co-chair of UNF’s Colors of Pride, hopes her story will have a significant impact on the Osprey community.

Whorwood hopes to promote not only tolerance, but acceptance of human rights.

“It’s not just about being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, it’s just about having human rights and just being who you are and being accepted for who you are,” she said.

Whorwood, who has been doing poetry for several years, said her reason for taking part in the monologues is accepting herself and who she is.

Whorwood said she feared that upon coming out, she would be labeled as a lesbian poet, but said through the play, she is able to use her voice and help people out in the community that need to know they are not alone and UNF has a strong group of people who can help them.

Douglass said one of the unique things about the show is that it features a range of powerful stories told by LGBT Center allies, parents, faculty and students, meaning there will be a varied assortment of themes and perspectives throughout the performance.

Douglass said she hopes the first year of “Coming Out Monologues” will be a success and already has plans to bring back the event and make it an annual event during Pride Week on campus.

Tickets are $20 for general public, and $10 for UNF students. The show’s proceeds will go on to benefit the UNF LGBT Resource Center.

Douglass is also the opening act in the play, and said she has become much closer with the students participating in the event.

“I’ve really enjoyed doing [the play] because I’ve been getting to know the students that come here a lot better through this journey,” she said. “There stories are very powerful and really moving.”

Email Zach Sweat at [email protected]