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Coming Out Monologues returns to Calgary

By Connor Sadler, March 19 2015 —

Coming out is an important milestone for members of the LGBTQ community. The Coming Out Monologues provide a forum for individuals to take ownership of their experiences. The event was first held at the University of Calgary six years ago, after starting at the University of California, Riverside in 2007.

Madeleine Hardy, director of the Coming Out Monologues, says the event features a variety of performances that explore the subject of declaring one’s sexual or gender identity.

“We’ve had dance pieces, we’ve had musical pieces and we’ve had art pieces. This year we have a student from ACAD who does a lot of queer art and [they] talk about their piece,” Hardy says.

In the spirit of inclusivity, the show doesn’t focus solely on homosexual, bisexual or transgender stories, with some of the monologues exploring lesser discussed identities, such as asexuality or polyamory.

According to Hardy, there are stories of people who have come out after being married for 17 years and of people whose platonic relationships are constantly being misconstrued as a romantic or sexual partnership.

Events like the Monologues play an important role in LGBTQ communities, acting as a way to educate people about issues around declaring an LGBTQ  identity.

The event also supports queer-identifying individuals who are in the process of coming out and to help them feel like they are part of the community.

“The coming out stories seem to almost be a rite of passage in the queer communities. Often they’re really emotional stories [and] the Coming Out Monologues gives space to explore and take ownership of that story,” Hardy says. “For LGBTQ-identified individuals you don’t just come out once. It’s this continuous process.”

While it started out as a small production, the Monologues have grown into a three-night event — one that nearly sold out last year. Hardy urges everyone to attend as the event helps to develop a dialogue around LGBTQ issues.

This year, the Monologues is partnering with Hillhurst United Church to create Coming Out in Faith, an event which centres around the experiences of people who are openly queer in religious organizations. Hardy says a lot of these stories are painful while others are inspiring.

“It’s a way of sharing our stories that builds resiliency and understanding. That gets down to the idea that we’re all just people,” Hardy says. “Stories shape you and change you and challenge your day-to-day.”

The Coming Out Monologues run from March 18–20 at the John Dutton Theatre. General admission tickets are $15 or $12 for students and seniors. The show on March 18 is pay-what-you-can.

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