Name: Nicole Kelley
Major: Finance and Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Her Campus (HC): When did you realize you were gay?
Nicole Kelley (NK): In seventh grade, I used to watch the TV show “South of Nowhere” about a lesbian couple. It was a time when being gay wasn’t as accepted in society. I was really fascinated by the relationship, more than other TV shows, and it peaked my interest in women.
HC: Were you always open about it?
NK: Not at first, but once I got to high school I got more comfortable telling my friends, but not my family.
HC: Why not?
NK: I was still exploring my sexuality and I wasn’t comfortable saying something that I, myself, wasn’t 100% sure of yet.
HC: I understand you joined a sorority coming into college. Were you open to your sisters? Why or why not?
NK: When I was in the sorority, I wasn’t because I was still exploring myself. I felt like the title “bi-sexual” had such a negative connotation to it that I just stuck to being titled as “straight.”
HC: Were you allowed to take girls on date functions?
NK: No, they didn’t allow it because if my date were to get wasted and do something bad, they didn’t want her to be associated with my sorority letters.
HC: I understand you are also a part of a business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi. Were you comfortable telling them about it? Why?
NK: Yes, after I dropped the sorority, I rushed AKPsi. I told my pledge class during my pledge retreat. I felt like I was coming into my own, and I didn’t feel the pressures of taking a hot guy on a date function, or making sure I was being molded to form into the perfect sorority girl. One of my pledge brothers was very open about it as well, so it made me feel more comfortable.
HC: What influenced you to make the decision to come out publically to everyone? How long did it take you? Why did you decide to do it when you did?
NK: My parents became a really strong support system for me. They pushed me to be myself and stop hiding who I was. They were right. I finally realized this is who I was and I didn’t care who had an issue with it because I don’t judge others, so they shouldn’t judge me.
HC: What were your feelings when you did this? Were you nervous? Liberated? Scared?
NK: A lot of my hometown friends already knew, and I was starting to already come out to my college friends, so it was more freeing for me to just let everyone know. I came out on Facebook and posted that I was in a relationship with a girl.
HC: How does this make you feel as an individual now? In other words, how did this change you/help you grow?
NK: I not only realized who I was, but I became more confident in my actions and choices in life. Yes, sometimes in society I’m challenged, but I’m happier now that I’m acknowledging who I am.
HC: Do you have any advice you can give others who are struggling with openly being themselves?
NK: We are an accepting society, and if others judge you for who you are, they are not your true friends. There’s ignorance everywhere, so you just need to stay true to who you are because life’s too short.
HC: Thank you so much for your honesty.
NK: Yeah, no problem. Thank you.