Performances take place March 15 and 16 at the University of Calgary

Jonathan Brower publicly came out in January and is already taking the stage at the University of Calgary’s Coming Out Monologues to share his story.

“I come from an evangelical background, so my story’s quite serious,” Brower said. “I think that’s probably why I put humour into my monologue, so that it was a little easier to approach.

“If I were talking just about what happened in the church, it would be very heavy. My monologue sort of takes a comedic look at coming out as this big, giant thing and says, ‘How big of a deal is it?’”

Brower also created a video as part of the “It Gets Better Project,” where he talks about “spiritual and emotional bullying” that comes from some religious denominations.

“My message was that you can be a person of faith and also be queer,” he said about the video, which has over 1200 views. “God loves you and created you that way. I wanted to share that with everybody who was experiencing something similar.

“I’m 27, so it took me a long time to come out.”

The Coming Out Monologues was started by the University of California, Riverside in 2007 and has since been adopted by a few other schools in the United States.

Aleesha Bray, co-ordinator for the U of C’s version of the performance, said that this year’s show, which is the school’s third, is taking more of a “cross-generational” approach.

Performers look on as one performer rehearses his monologue for the University of Calgary’s Coming Out Monologues.
Photo by: Megan Eichhorn

“We have lots of different community members with different stories,” Bray said. “There’ll be performers in their teens, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s.

“We also have a lady in her 70s doing a performance about how she came out 30 or 40 years ago, and how some things about coming out have changed and how some things have stayed the same.”

All proceeds from the show will go to Camp fYrefly, a “national leadership retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-identified, two-spirited, intersexed, queer, questioning, and

allied youth” with locations in Edmonton and Saskatchewan. The proceeds will help bring the program to Calgary.

Kristopher Wells, one of the founders of Camp fYrefly, said that coming out is often stressful for gay, lesbian and trans-identified youth and the program aims to help them develop pride in their identity.

“Works of art like the Coming Out Monologues are critical in helping these young people ‘break the silence’ that often surrounds sex, sexual, and gender differences,” Wells said. “These stories give young people hope and possibility to be proud and confident.”

The Coming Out Monologues will take place on March 15 and 16 at U of C’s Boris Roubakine Theatre. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Campus Ticket Centre in the MacEwan Student Centre.

“You get a glimpse into the minds of these people who are your neighbours and they’re lovely,” Brower said. “There’s a lot of pain behind being somebody in the queer community.

“If you can tap into that and empathize a little bit, you’ll realize what they went through.”

meichhorn@cjournal.ca

Clarification: Jonathan Brower officially came out publicly this year. Brower came out gradually to his family over a period of years. It was around June when he had come to terms with his sexuality.

It was originally said that Brower came out to his family and friends last June.

We apologize for any potential confusion we may have caused.