“Out – The Narrative” Hits Close to Home

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.

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Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

Carmen has written 919 articles for us.


    • Real talk: I used to wear leggings as pants until last summer. But, like, I paired them with wifebeaters so that takes the sting out righttttttt
      Also, this project s FANTASTIQUE, it’s always beautiful to hear testimonials about one’s queer experience.

  1. What I don’t hear on this project are any trans voices or even mention of gender identity or expression. (yes, I’m a broken record responding to an endlessly repeating theme). The student body president at American University just came out as a trans woman… now that’s a HUGE deal! I truly hope the rest of the project (unless it’s overtly very specifically keyed toward sexual orientation and only sexual orientation) isn’t more of the same because in 2012, that doesn’t cut it nor is using the word “queer” to imply trans people (many of whom don’t ID as queer) are included. :(

  2. I love coming out stories… They never get old and the brutal honesty hits a nerve.

    Off topic – Carmen – your voice is soothing just like Marcel the Shell.

  3. Carmen, we have similar stories! I have been feeling so dumb because I have been involved with the lgbtq community for as long as I can remember but only recently have I realized that I could be gay. Most of the other people I know who are not straight have known for as long as they can remember so it was hard for me to relate to that. I am just so happy I watched this video, it really made me feel better about things because sometimes it feels like there is something wrong with me for not making the connection sooner. So thank you for sharing this project, it is awesome.

  4. Yeah, can you submit if you’re trans? Especially, a transguy, because there’s like nowhere for us to go. :(

  5. Aw, this sounds like a fantastic project- and so relevant to my life. Carmen (and Marie), your story reminds me of me. i’m just now 25, but it’s only been in the past six months or so that i made the connection that i’m gay- like you, Marie, it feels like i should’ve just always known this about myself. It’s been quite the journey thus far, and i’m only six months in, ha. Thanks for the encouragement, Carmen.

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