Alumnus to discuss faith and sexuality on campus

by Life Editor Monday Sanderson

“I really wanted to invite people in to that story and the struggles and dark times, but also the light in the journey.”

UNA alumnus Brett Trapp will speak Jan. 27 in the Guillot University Center Loft about his blog “Blue Babies Pink: A Southern Coming Out Story in 44 Episodes.”

“It is basically my story of coming out as gay and being a Christian as well,” he said. “I’ve spent the past eight years journaling this whole process. A big part of my story centered around growing up in a Southern culture and tradition. I talk about what it was like to negotiate that process mostly alone because I didn’t feel safe talking about it.”

Students should go to gain new insights, said Lynne Martin, director of Student Counseling Services.

“All traditional age college students face working toward resolution of several developmental tasks during their college years, requiring them to explore and gather information to help them mature and establish their own identities,” she said. “At Student Counseling Services, we understand the importance of completing these tasks and work day in and day out to help students toward this completion. Hearing Brett speak on his experience and personal story is an opportunity for students to hear directly from someone who has faced these tasks and will provide insights on his personal process regarding this work.”

Trapp said he began the blog in September 2016.

“I got on Facebook and I said, ‘Here is my story, and I will be telling it in this serialized format,’” he said. “I released one episode, or post, per day. Each one was about 1,500 words, and they told my story starting from my childhood.”

Trapp said word of the article spread on social media without any advertising.

“We had about 50,000 people come and read at least part of the blog during the time I published it,” he said. “We had about 3,000 people sign up to get the daily email. This was surprising, but it made me glad.”

Trapp said the positive response came from him being open to discussing the topic.

Trapp said he began his tour Jan. 23, and he will go to five cities. The cities are Washington D.C., Chicago, Florence, Birmingham and Atlanta. Florence is his third stop.

“I love UNA,” he said. “I spent five years at UNA, and I just want to share my story with the people who have been there for me. My time at UNA was positive, but I was not open about my sexuality. So for me, this is telling the full story.”

Trapp said his goal for the blog was to show people the journey of coming out.

“I think when a lot of people come out about their sexuality, they just kind of say it and then they don’t give it a lot of context or the backstory of what it was like to get there,” he said.

Trapp said he hopes the tour will open up a discussion between the LGBTQ+ and religious community.

“I’m in an interesting spot because I have dual citizenship in both of those communities,” he said. “I think that there is still so much taboo around the topic that it is not safe to talk about. To me that is kind of the sad and dangerous part of this. There are really a lot of people dealing with this struggle, and they don’t feel safe bringing this up.”

Martin said students should listen and come prepared with questions.

Trapp said for those who are on the same journey, it is good to not struggle alone.

“It is important to have relationships with believers who can have this conversation on a deeper level,” he said. “It’s not good to keep the conversation in your head and simmering on it alone. You should have the conversation with people you trust. People you know have your best interest in heart.”