Coming Out: LGBTQ in College
In 2009, Brandon Kattenbraker was the average high-school student dealing with struggles of everyday life. That was until he realized that he was attracted to the opposite sex. As he ventured into college, he became more of himself and found it easier for him to be his own person and talk to people.
He then met his boy friend at the time, Collin. When they started dating, Brandon thought it would be necessary to tell certain people in his life about it. This is when he came out to his parents and aunt. Unlike most situations of coming out in the US as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Brandon’s family was accepting of this realization. It might not have been their plan for him, but they still loved him and were okay with it.
“Everyone was totally fine with it, and honestly, I think people love me more because of it.”
However, coming out to all of his friends and classmates from high school was slightly different. His boyfriend at the time, Collin, wanted to put it on Facebook and Brandon said go for it. “As this was all coming out, I thought I needed to put my phone on mute, because i wasn’t sure how the reaction would be.”
But it surprised him. On the relationship status update, he got about 500 likes and had about 50 people text him about it. The day he actually came out, others came out of the closet to him. “Its such a rewarding experience that I was able to help others grow and help others to be able to come out to him about that.”
According to dosomething.org, 42 percent of LGBTQ people are “living in an unwelcoming environment.” While many LGBTQ+ people are afraid to come out or be different, it’s something that is becoming more and more socially accepted. Maryville’s Gay Straight Alliance offers a great way for those struggling with self-identity to find support and guidance. This organization is also great for those who may not be a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but are supportive of those in the community and want to serve as an ally. According to maryville.edu, “MUGSA provides an open door for all students from every walk of life. We also provide the Maryville student body with the education and opportunities to speak out about discrimination, in order to create tolerance on campus for a state of well being that is optimal for our academic success.”