UCM Student Shares Their Story


Photo by Ellie

 Senior and Women Gender and Sexuality Studies major, Tad Miller, said, “My family used gay as a swear word so if you said the word ‘gay’ you had to put money in the swear jar.”

  Growing up in what they considered to be the perfect Midwestern Catholic family, Miller said they did not know much about the LGBTQ community. That is until summer camp in 2013, when another camp-goer revealed that she had a girlfriend.

  “I was like, ‘Wait! People can do that?’” Miller said. “That moment kind of sparked it because I had all these feelings but no language to support it and I didn’t even know that it was something that was a possibility.”

  Once Miller began questioning their sexuality, they said they also began testing their family’s thoughts on the LGBTQ community. Miller said their family seemed unsupportive of LGBTQ identities, so they kept their sexual identity a secret until the summer of 2014 when they came out as bisexual to a few people at summer camp. After more self-exploration, Miller said they came out as pansexual in the fall of 2015. In the summer of 2016, they came out to their four siblings who were supportive. That same year, Miller said their parents found out.

  “I did not get the opportunity to come out to my parents,” Miller said. “They forced me to come out.”

“When coming out, you need to be gentle to yourself and be kind to yourself and recognize that you are a human being and you’re still constantly growing. Don’t feel pressured to come out, because coming out is a journey.”

— Rai Clements, advisor for Prism

  Clements said she has seen some students come to Prism and are happy that they do not need to hide anymore while others come to Prism but continue to hide. She said she had some students speak with her privately and reveal that they come from unsupportive families. Clements said it is heartbreaking so she does her best to support them.

  “I have very distinct memories of hearing my mom cry behind her closed bedroom door saying my name,” Miller said. “My dad was clearly upset, so I left and ran away for about three weeks. For a really long time, I felt guilty about who I was because it was causing my parents so much pain.”

   Miller said during the time that they’d ran away they stayed at other people’s houses and spent a lot of time at the gym because it was open 24 hours and had a shower. 

  “I was ready to cut my family off,” Miller said. “I had it all set up financially. I had the dates planned out. I was telling people.”

 The Trevor Project, a nonoprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention in the LGBTQ community, conducted a study in 2022 that stated, “28% of LGBTQ youth reported experiencing homelessness or housing instability at some point in their lives — and those who did had two to four times the odds of reporting depression, anxiety, self-harm, considering suicide, and attempting suicide compared to those with stable housing.”