Throughout the month of June we continue to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community across the globe. I was inspired to share my story because I want other LGBTQ+ students to understand that they can succeed in this industry.
I would like to begin this story by sharing my LGBTQ+ journey. It wasn’t until middle school that I realized I was attracted to both men and women. Identifying as bi-sexual poses its own list of obstacles and barriers. Take that there is still a massive belief that sexuality is rigidly contained to a binary e.g. gay and straight. This belief is actually commonly perpetrated by the LGBTQ+ community. This undeniably boxed in my thoughts constantly, and I felt I had to make a choice. But I didn’t make a choice — there is no choice, I am who I am. Attending a non-diverse and relatively exclusionary school, I never found anyone that I could personally relate to. I never had a platform, space, or coalition of people that could guide me on this isolated journey.
The coming out process is always difficult for any LGBTQ+ individual, and I attempted to come out many times. Sad to say, almost all of them traveled downhill at lightning speed. My family never accepted me, and it was heartbreaking to feel my family was against me. Then, I was accepted into college. University life opened my eyes to a world with LGBTQ+ acceptance and I experienced a culture of understanding. I fully came out in college, and it was a joyous moment to be fully subsumed into this new world. It felt like I was in the Harry Potter universe, except in this scenario, “magic equals queerness, and I was casting expecto queertronum daily.”
There was less shame coupled with my thoughts, and I finally felt like I could breathe. My family is understanding, and I learned they were only concerned for my life, since it is harder for LGBTQ+ people to navigate in the world. This was an important lesson. Humans are multidimensional beings, and the world is not so black and white. People have their beliefs, and it is important to have an open and honest dialogue. We may learn more about each other when we have these scary and vulnerable conversations.
Fast forward to today (four years later), and it is merely who I am now. Almost everyone knows my sexual identity, but there is still some fear in the back of my head. . I am currently dating an older gentleman, and he has taught me so many life lessons. I could write multiple novels of the hardships and setbacks that we’ve had to face as a same-sex, multi-racial, and multi-generational relationship. Even though I have accepted myself, it does not mean that it gets any easier. But I push you to continue to try, be there for others, and always do the right thing.
As the newly elected vice president of career services on the PRSSA National Committee, people like me identifying with the LGBTQ+, Latino, and disability community can succeed and thrive despite these barriers.
Do you know anyone who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community? Share with us how you will be commemorating them this upcoming pride month.
Zane David Landin, PRSSA 2020–2021 vice president of career services, is a non-graduating senior from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He will graduate in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations. He has a strong passion for academics, design, social issues, creative writing, and learning new things all the time. Upon graduation, he hopes to be accepted into the master’s program in strategic communication from Columbia University to work at a public relations firm, the government, a nonprofit, or a university. Eventually, he plans on completing his Ph.D. in Disability Studies with an emphasis in Communication Disorders to become a university professor and conduct research on accessible communication practices advocating for universal design.