Going to high school in San Francisco provided Charlene Saddul with a number of “out” role models and she considers herself lucky to have had supportive friends and allies while growing up — and coming out — to her deeply Catholic family.
“Feeling safe and seen are powerful gifts. I will always be thankful to those who create safe spaces and allow people to be seen in the ways they wish to be seen,” Saddul said.
Now a nursing instructor at West Coast University-Los Angeles, Saddul tries to provide her students with an inclusive, diverse environment that “explicitly shows support for minority groups and underserved populations.”
“Pride is resilience. It is an awareness of a dark history of hatred and ignorance meant to evoke shame, while simultaneously a defiant act of reclaiming parts of who we are — parts that are so inherent and natural — that historically have been ripped away by people whose power in this world is fabricated so delicately on ‘social norms’ that they are threatened by it,” Saddul said.
While Saddul encourages people to ask questions about other’s lifestyle or background, she is quick to remind that no one is obligated to answer them.
“It’s a two-way street. Let’s just do our best and create the space we can be proud of together,” she said.
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