Kiera Coleman (C’16) is the co-leader of the Gender and Sexual Diversity theme house on campus.
By Kiera Coleman
Since forever, society has told us what identity we should profess, whom we should love, and how we should love them. But queer love is different; queer love says do away with mainstream culture. What it means to love, as a person of the queer community, is to live how you want and to do so unapologetically. To love is to be daring. Queer love is expected to be unlike “straight” love (whatever that means), but it is not. We love just as any other person would love. Love is not gendered. But with love comes a constant battle, a constant declaration of individuality, and a never-ending coming out story.
For me, the process of coming out to my family was a constant one. When I knew that the girl I loved was the girl I wanted to love forever, coming out to my family was of little concern. Yes, I would get the conversation on how sinful it is to love another girl, how my life would be full of chaos, and the uncertainty about family coming to my wedding. But I also knew that if my love for her were as strong as I believe it was, then I would continue to live my life unapologetically. Queer love is different because the fight to maintain that love is constantly called into question by those surrounding you. I’d give all that I could to be able to love without fear, but if that type of love would stop me from being the most authentic me, then I do not want it.
Being able to love myself, my lesbian self, helped me free myself from silence. No longer did I hide around the corner when I heard people talking about their thoughts on queer people. When I found love for myself, I found love for a community of people that continue to be marginalized or who continue to affirm their identity for the likes of others. Love means to love animate and inanimate objects. Consider the rainbow flag that hangs high outside of the Gender & Sexual Diversity House. Love runs much deeper than what is actually tangible. The flag is a sign of pride in our identity, solidarity with Sewanee’s campus, and love for all people. So, when it was constantly stolen or vandalized, we questioned whether we actually had the support of Sewanee’s campus. After months of keeping the flag inside to protect it, The GSD House has finally decided to refly the flag.
With that being said, never be afraid to love yourself or others. Love can be shown through animate beings or inanimate objects. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not judge. Love is unapologetic. So to you, Sewanee, continue to give love to those who are like you, those who may not share similar ideologies, and to the greater Sewanee community.