A few years ago, I never thought that I would be coming out to the world through my school newspaper at my Christian university…But my legacy will invariably be different, because I am Calvin University’s first openly LGBTQ student body president. I’m bisexual. I’ve also questioned if I was a lesbian in the past. Usually, I use the term “queer” because it encompasses all of these identities.
In the 102 years that Student Senate has existed, we’ve never had an openly gay student body president. It’s beyond time that the LGBTQ community is represented in the highest student leadership position at Calvin. I’m proud to be the first.
A few years ago, I never thought that I would be coming out to the world through my school newspaper at my Christian university. I wanted to be known as the girl who started Dance Marathon and led students to raise $50,000 for our local children’s hospital, the girl who co-hosted a podcast for the Chimes, or the girl who tried out for every single hip hop dance guild and was rejected from every single one. But my legacy will invariably be different, because I am Calvin University’s first openly LGBTQ student body president. I’m bisexual. I’ve also questioned if I was a lesbian in the past. Usually, I use the term “queer” because it encompasses all of these identities.
One thing’s for sure: I am not straight. I’m sharing my story with the community because I take the weight of representation seriously, I have a desire to lead Calvin and the CRC into the future and want other queer students to see themselves in my story. I’d feel as if I’d made a mistake as student body president if I did not use my platform to do so.
I’m proud to be Calvin’s first openly gay student body president, but it hasn’t always been easy to be queer at Calvin or to be open with my story. I didn’t want to be the cause of controversy at Calvin or in my church. An elder at my church back home was advised not to attend his queer daughter’s wedding. Although the church should not have done this in the first place, I didn’t want to cause issues for my parents in the place they love to worship.
Secondly, I didn’t want everyone in my life to see me as just gay and overlook all of the other things that make me who I am; my bad puns, my statement earrings, my love for How I Built This, or my obsession with oatmilk.
Lastly, I didn’t want students to see me differently if they knew this part of my story. With time, I’ve accepted that some will lose respect for me; however, I will not apologize for existing in the way that God made me. I’d rather be my true self to make space for other queer students than hide who I am out of fear of offending others.