“Yes I’m mixed. No I will not pick a side.” This is what Julia Kalkbrenner wrote on her sign that was staked in the Quad along with 73 other signs. These signs were part of the third annual Breaking Stereotypes event organized by the LGBTQ Alliance and the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. Kalkbrenner said being bi-racial is a stereotype that she has struggled with her whole life. She said kids bullied her, forcing her to pick a side – was she black or was she white?“Thinking about my bi-racial self, a lot of people think that I’m confused, that I have to choose one race. I just want to embrace that I’m both and I don’t need to choose between the two,” Kalkbrenner said.
LGBTQ Alliance and Delta Phi Epsilon encouraged students to write stereotypes on posters that they have heard or experienced. The posters were then stapled onto stakes and dug into the Quad.
Katie Coats, a member of the sorority, said students bonded over what they saw and were excited when they found other signs that matched theirs.
“I’m a lesbian, but I still dress like a girl”
LGBTQ member Trish Stovernik said that she participated in the event to let people know she is happy with herself. She said her sexual orientation does not define her, nor does her clothing style.
“I’m a lesbian, and when I tell people that, I get ‘you don’t look like a lesbian’ or ‘you dress like a girl’ a lot. I think it’s important to show people that there’s not one mold. You don’t have to be a certain way to be a part of a group,” Stovernik said.
Stovernik said she participates in the Alliance because it gives students of all backgrounds a chance to come out and talk about real life. She said the group “preaches to the choir” in the sense that everyone attends these events for the same reason; no matter how different they are, they share the same need to break a stereotype. Coats said it is great that people can share such personal things about themselves and not be afraid. She added that this is the first year the sorority has worked with the Alliance on Breaking Stereotypes, breaking yet another stereotype.