American University, as I have told you over and over again, is one of the gayest places ever granted to us mere mortals by a higher power. It makes sense, then, that "Out - The Narrative" was born here. "Out" is a project by Chris Jasinski, a rising junior at AU. It tells the individual and unique stories of coming out in a mini-documentary webseries format, and it calls Tumblr home. It is a project worth clicking the "Follow' button for.
The interviews for each video featured queer AU students, faculty, and staff. They were all asked similar questions, and through the culmination of each voice comes a singular message of support for anyone who is queer-identified or questioning.
"Out" is about more than the mere act of being gay, or coming to terms with it, or telling other people about it. In line with "Testimony," it is a project that highlights the multidimensionality of coming into a queer identity, and gives ample space to tell the whole story. The mission of "Out" is "to provide a source of solidarity and hope," and the vehicle is the videos.
I was featured in the campaign, mostly because I am the gayest person on Earth. The cameras had to be readjusted for my hair. I was the only person instructed to answer the question "Who is Carmen Rios?"
But "Out" is more than a bunch of really sweet, really relatable videos that maybe will make you feel emotions. It's also an advocacy campaign, and the philosophy is based in the historic notion that the personal is political. "I want to send a message to questioning youth that they have total control over the story of their lives," Jasinski says. "Struggles aren’t about victory or failure; it is about growth in a time of hardship. I came out in a conservative Southern state. [...] I thought I would never escape the heartache and at one point I uncapped a pill bottle -- that was my epiphany. From then on I promised myself that my future, the next chapter of my life, would be one of celebration and happiness."
Jasinski is excited to use the campaign as a platform to support questioning and coming out youth and adults and urge public figures and members of the queer community to be more visible, more public, and more honest. "Since high school I have started attending a nationally ranked university, I am interning at a national news outlet, and currently dating a wonderful man who is also my best friend," Jasinski told me. "None of this would have been possible if without the story of my coming out."
"Out" spreads the valuable and rare message that coming out can eventually or immediately lead to a new, wonderful part of the entire thing that is life. You can submit to the project, too, via a text post. I'd encourage you to do it about a million times.