“I think on some level I’ve always known.”
That groundbreaking quote from the iconic television sitcom Will and Grace—the moment that Eric McCormack’s Will Truman comes out to Debra Messing’s Grace Adler—was one that truly resonated with Jordan Toy, an assistant director of residence life at Ursinus.
“Saying out it loud for the first time made it feel real,” Toy told members of the Ursinus community.
Staff members Toy and EJ Madarasz, an assistant director of residence life, joined faculty members Meghan Brodie, an assistant professor of theater, and Domenick Scudera, a professor of theater, as panelists to talk about what it was like for them in high school, college and beyond as LGBTQ+ individuals.
The panelists all shared stories that often touched on common themes. From navigating tough discussions with family members to referencing LGBTQ+ literature and pop culture, they shared their personal journeys with the audience.
The event took place in the new Institute for Inclusion and Equity (IIE) space in Wismer Center, where students, faculty and staff gathered to hear the stories of pride from their fellow Ursinus community members.
The intimate event featured stories of self-realization, love and pride, as well as serious discussions surrounding familial acceptance, an important topic in the LGBTQ+ community.
After the four speakers told their stories, audience members were encouraged to ask questions at the event or in private, welcoming any students in the room to contact them if there were any specific topics relating to gender and sexuality they wanted to ask later.
The IIE coordinates dialogue, programming and activities around issues of equity, diversity and social justice, therefore supporting the larger mission of the college by preparing students for leadership in an increasingly complex, diverse and interdependent world.—By Mary Lobo ’15