By Chantel Vargas
Expression night was Oct. 12 during the LGBTQ+ Pride Week Celebration, and it was a night filled with support.
A handful of brave people shared their coming out stories to respectful listeners in the audience and described what life was like for the LGBTQ+ community.
The first person to share their coming out story was Kelly Aragon, the president of the LGBTQ+ Network at CSU Bakersfield.
When Aragon came out to her mother as bisexual at the age of 18, they turned to each other and said, “don’t tell grandma.” Aragon comes from a catholic, conservative family and was incredibly close to her grandmother.
She shared how she and her grandmother would bake a ton of Christmas cookies every year and give them to homeless shelters, hospitals, and more.
“I gave gay slurs when I was little. I’m not going to lie about that. I thought crooked was wrong. As I got older, as I got to college and as I became more understanding of people in other situations like myself, I learned about myself, and I became more accepting,” said Aragon.
Stephanie Lancaster was the next person who shared, and she told the coming out story of her son.
“My son, who is now 21, is gay. I’ve known he was gay since probably when he was a toddler. When the Teletubbies were out, Tinky Winky was his favorite. That was the purple one who carried around a little purse,” said Lancaster.
Lancaster shared about the time her son at the age of 15 snuck out of the house to meet a boy. “I didn’t think that you would accept the fact that I am gay,” said Lancaster’s son.
Lancaster responded, “This is ridiculous. Why would I not accept this? I have lots of gay friends, and my sister is lesbian. And then he told me I said some derogatory things that stuck with him.”
Allison Cheatwood, a junior psychology major at CSUB stayed after the event to share her thoughts about the night with Aragon.
“I want to know firsthand what it means to be gay, lesbian, especially bisexual, transgender, and queer questioning because I’m intrigued by those…I don’t know much about those. I’m just very interested and hearing people’s stories really puts it in real term and honestly makes me proud of this college because having a sexual orientation class like we have, that’s a big deal,” said Cheatwood.