Whitney Cyr

Managing Executive Editor


More than 50 students gathered in the Madison Street Lounge on Monday night to share their stories of coming out to their family and friends and how that moment had affected their lives.

Nate Gordon, the First Year Residential Experience coordinator, opened up the discussion with how he knew he was gay and how he told his parents. “I brought my boyfriend home to my family and said he was my friend at first,” he said.

Emily Fedorko / Photo Editor KSC Julia Rasku (center) and Ashley Roberts (right) share their coming out stories to students Monday, April 22, in the Madison Street Lounge.

“Eventually, I sat my parents down and said that I had been dating someone for four months. I told them it was a he and not a she,” Gordon said. Gordon went on to say he was very lucky to have parents who were accepting. As far as knowing when he was gay, “You always sort of know,” he said. “I had a girlfriend in eighth grade and she said, ‘I want a passionate kiss,’ and I said, ‘I’m good.’” Gordon gave advice to the audience, saying they should come out when they know they are ready.

Cutler Rines, a senior, offered his story of coming out. “Most of the time, I feel very feminine. I very rarely feel masculine. I didn’t really come out as gay. I would ask my mom to wear a dress,” he said. While the road to the exploration of his sexuality was welcomed and supported by his mother, Rines said his father was less than supportive.

“My dad bought me a BB gun when I was four, and of course I didn’t like it,” he explained. “People would walk up to me and ask me what gender I was in middle school. People, even adults would throw trash at me.”

Rines said that while his mother considers him transgender, his father and his stepmother rarely acknowledge it. “My mom is very supportive. She’s always there to listen when I need her.” Rines noted that he didn’t officially come out, but his sexuality was known when his father rifled through his journal. Rines identified himself as a demisexual, meaning that he is only sexually attracted to a person once a strong emotional attachment has been formed. Rines’s advice for students was to not be forced to come out. In addition, he said he is homoromantic, meaning he has a romantic attraction to people of the same gender.

However, Rines said it grates on him when someone calls him “sir” or “mister.” “You have to do it when you’re ready,” he said.

Another student, senior Ashley Roberts, identifies herself as pansexual, meaning she is attracted to people of all gender identities, not just one biological gender. “I had dated men up until this year,” she explained.

“I didn’t realize I wasn’t completely straight.” While Rines navigated a tough course with his father in relation to his orientation and his gender, Roberts said she was very lucky because no matter her sexual orientation, her parents supported her. “When I told my mom I was seeing a girl, she was excited for me. I had a little anxiety with other family members, but I think coming out went really well,” she said. “Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about coming out.” Roberts’ said she is “facebook official” with her girlfriend, junior and vice president of Keene State College Pride, Julia Rasku. Rasku, however, identified herself as asexual, meaning she has no particular sexual desire towards any gender. “I initially thought I was a lesbian because that was the only term that was offered,” Rasku said. “I haven’t developed a sexual attraction to my girlfriend. I’ve never felt any sexual drive towards anyone.” Rasku said the term “asexual” fell into place for her more so than lesbian. She also defines herself as being gender fluid.

“I don’t identify with either gender because I don’t feel like I belong to either one,” she said. Rasku says she has days when she feels more feminine and days when she leans towards masculinity. Rasku also said that her family doesn’t know the actual definition for her identity. “I struggle with being gender fluid. I don’t really know which way to go. A lot of people mistake me for a man,” she said. She said something as simple as going to the bathroom presents a challenge to her—which gender defined restroom is she supposed to use?

“I’ve had people ask me if I’m in the wrong bathroom, so I go to the gender neutral ones and stay away from public restrooms,” Rasku said. Rasku also said her girlfriend, Roberts, is understanding of her. “She assured me that liking each other was the most important thing. If I’m comfortable, eventually, we could take that step. I want her to be happy.”

For parting words, Rasku emphasized the point that coming out to yourself and accepting yourself is the only way that others can understand and accept you. Sarah Croitoru, a sophomore, attended the event because it’s important to hear the experience of coming out because “it brings visibility to the issues faced by our community.”

In addition, Theresa Hoffmann, a counseling intern at the Counseling Center, said the event was important because it raised awareness. “There’s a lot of misunderstanding and ignorance out there. Gender and sexuality is a continuum.”

Hoffman said a panel discussion creates a safe and comfortable environment for people to come out. “People are getting in touch with their identity and college is a safe place for people to be known for who they really are.”


Whitney Cyr can be contacted at


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