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Faculty, staff share their 'coming out' stories

On November 5, 2019

By CLAIRE PATTERSON

VN STAFF WRITER

Two Detroit Mercy faculty members shared their stories of coming out at a campus event called “Living Faith Out loud: Love and Compassion.”

The event, a belated celebration of National Coming Out Day, was held Oct. 24 in the Architecture Building.

Traci L. Stewart, an assistant professor in McAuley School of Nursing, and Damian G. Torres-Botello, who is in the process of becoming a Jesuit and is also a member of Theatre Company, talked about what it means to be lesbian and gay and still expressing their faith.

They emphasized the importance of being yourself without limitations and living your true identity.

Both talks were empowering and beautiful.

Each had a main theme about being our authentic.

Torres-Botello and Stewart shared their stories of coming out and the struggles they went through.

They both went through hardships along the way.

The event was all about what it means to be gay or lesbian and living through faith. It was moving to hear what both have gone through in their lives.

Coming out to family and friends may not be easy. Things can go south, both noted.

Both told tales of heartbreak.

“I told them at Christmas,” said Torres-Botello of coming out to his parents. “They told me I couldn’t stay at home and I had to leave.”

Over time, they came to accept him but it wasn’t instant,

Stewart opened up with an excerpt from author Ralph Ellison, who wrote “Invisible Man.”

She said it related to her feeling alone and invisible due to her LGBTQ identity.

“I have mostly felt like I was invisible my entire life and not being seen,” said Stewart.

Growing up, she never felt she fit in with the boys or girls, she said.

 “I would try and play soccer and baseball with (boys), but I didn’t fit in with them either because I was still a girl,” said Stewart.

The event registered with Detroit Mercy students.

Sophomore Nina Carlson noted, “This event creates allies, understanding and an atmosphere in which people can talk about this stuff.”

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