Adelphi: Where Chosen Family is Found
By Mylo Fisherman
If you told me when I graduated high school that I would be where I am today, I wouldn't believe you. In my senior year of high school, I was beginning to come to terms with my bisexual identity. At that time I could count the people I was out to on one hand. I was the secretary of my high school’s GSA and my advisor, Mr. Zagare was only the third person I had come out to. When I committed to Adelphi, I promised I would live my best gay life in college. I am happy to say that I did that here at Adelphi.
During my orientation, I was shocked that there was an LGBTQIA+ mixer for students that had a drag show. It was there that I signed up for the LGBTQIA+ First Year Experience FYE), which was formative for my growth. The FYE took place during one of my classes but I put in the effort to go to the 30 minutes of it I was able to attend. It was there I met people who were non-binary, trans-masculine. I was already questioning my gender in high school and experimenting with my expression in a more masculine way, having conversations with these people made me realize this may be what I am. That night, I looked up names on baby name websites and wrote up a little poem about my identity. The next day, on Sept. 19, 2019, I showed the poem to my friends and came out as non-binary with my name, Mylo, and pronouns, they/them. While this no longer speaks to who I am, it was a big, scary step into becoming me. Over the next few months, I started experimenting with he/him pronouns and in December I came out again as a trans man.
During this time, I did my best to be as active in the GSA as I could. As happy as I was to be a member of GSA, I strived to be on the eBoard as I had been when I was in high school. When I was elected the president of the GSA it was a surreal experience. While this was a natural next step in my journey, I didn’t immediately realize the full impact it would have on me. I have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most amazing individuals. Together, we organized events and meetings that celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community, raised awareness about the issues we face, and advocated for our rights. It was not always easy, but seeing the impact we made on campus made all the hard work worthwhile.
During my last semester on the GSA eBoard, there was a lack of space to speak about everything we had initially set out to discuss. There was a need for a club whose mission and goals were tailored to the needs of the transgender and gender non-conforming population on campus. This realization sparked Students Beyond the Binary (SBB). As the founder and outgoing president, I couldn’t be more proud to see SBB thrive for three semesters. We have made immense strides since the formation, and I know that many amazing accomplishments lay ahead.
Adelphi provided me with a safe space when I didn’t have one anywhere else in my life. Here was the place where I felt the freedom to fully be myself. Friends and faculty members here at Adelphi provided me with the strength and support I needed to come out to my parents on Dec. 2, 2021. While their response was less than desirable, the support I received from the faculty members I look up to most meant the most to me as someone who doesn’t have a supportive family to share in my queer joy. Each of these people has carved a place into my heart as a part of my chosen family. Although I often feel vulnerable being visible and transitioning at the age of 21, if my visibility helps one person then I am happy. If younger Mylo could see me now he would be so proud of the person we have turned ourselves into. Lastly, I can’t forget to mention my time I spent with The Delphian. I joined this newspaper my first semester here at Adelphi. I didn’t plan to at first, but my friend was leaving to join a meeting and I didn’t want to be left alone so I went with them. The rest is history. While I had major imposter syndrome joining this club at first because I wasn’t a communications major and I never considered English or writing to be my strong suit, I slowly became comfortable writing for the paper. The Delphian provided me with two unique experiences as a queer person. It allowed me to freely discuss and write articles on current news impacting or related to the LGBTQIA+ community. Plus, at a time I wasn’t out to many, it allowed me to see my name in print on a monthly basis. Additionally, I chose to take on a leadership role in The Delphian because of the amazing leadership that has come before me. I love everyone on staff past and present. It has been so nice being able to work along these hardworking humans.
Coming out on campus and my roles in GSA, SBB and The Delphian have been some of the most empowering experiences of my life. They have taught me that authenticity and vulnerability are not weaknesses. Rather, they are strengths that make us human. They have also taught me that we are stronger when we stand together. In a time when our community is in need of support, our solidarity and resolve can make all the difference. I encourage you all to be true to yourselves. Embrace your identities and fight for what you believe in. Remember that we are all here to support each other and that we are stronger when we stand together. Congratulations, graduates, and thank you for being part of my journey.