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Students get emotional during Coming Out panel

A panel of undergraduate and graduate students share their coming-out experiences for the LGBTQ Center’s Coming Out Week on Wednesday.

A panel of undergraduate and graduate students share their coming-out experiences for the LGBTQ Center’s Coming Out Week on Wednesday.

CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, a previous version of this story misstated the name of one of the organizations that hosted the event. It was hosted by the Sexuality and Gender Alliance. The story has been updated to reflect this change. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

St. Brice’s story of coming out — of his father refusing to accept him as gay, forcing him to go to therapy to correct whatever he thought was wrong with him and eventually kicking him out — had been emotionless up to this point.

Finally, St. Brice, a freshman communication studies major, reached the part of his story where he had to recap one of the lowest points of his life.

“More than once I thought about killing myself,” he said, as he, and audience members, fought back tears. “My father treated me as though I was no longer his son.”

St. Brice and three other panelists shared their coming out stories to an audience of about 25 Wednesday — the same day a North Carolina federal judge lifted stays on two cases challenging the state ban on gay marriage.

The panel was hosted by the Sexuality and Gender Alliance and the LGBTQ Center and is a part of UNC’s Coming Out Week. The week is building up to National Coming Out Day on Saturday.

Other panelists spoke about the difficulty that accompanied coming out to their parents.

“Growing up, my mom was pretty accepting but sometimes she made it seem like she wouldn’t be okay having a gay child,” said panelist Alejandra Marquez, a Ph.D. student in Hispanic literature.

Marquez said once she came out, her mom was as close with her as ever before.

Kim Brummell, a women’s and gender studies major who works in the LGBTQ Center, said before coming out to her mom, a pastor, she asked her for unconditional support.

“I just needed to hear that and know that,” she said

Brummell spoke about being openly gay at UNC, saying her experience was mixed until she found the women’s and gender studies department.

“I found a home here,” she said. “It helped finding people and a community.”

St. Brice said he even attended his first pride parade since coming to UNC.

“Pride showed me there is more than what I’m used to, more than what my parents are used to.”

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