Artist and art historian Jonathan Weinberg gave a lecture Wednesday evening in the Aloysius P. Kelley Center centered on the phenomenon of coming out, and how his personal experiences with the issue have affected his artwork.

“This lecture is not for a G-rated audience,” cautioned Dr. Philip Eliasoph, professor of art history, before introducing the keynote speaker in honor of LGBT awareness month.

Before introducing his paintings, Weinberg recalled his own coming out experience. As an undergraduate student at Yale University in the 1970s, “very few people were out at that point,” said Weinberg. To encourage more transparency, an organization on campus organized a day during which all gay students would wear jeans.

“The idea was terrifying to me, but I couldn’t be someone who was ashamed anymore,” said Weinberg, adding that this moment and his decision to wear jeans was a major turning point in his life.

Although this event marked the first time that Weinberg was able to admit to others that he was gay, it was hardly the last time that he had to do so.

According to Weinberg, coming out, is not a one-time event, but rather something that must be done frequently.

“At least once a week I have to come out,” said Weinberg, recalling a recent occasion in which he had to explain to his cable provider why his husband’s name, not his, was on their bill.

The origins of the idea of coming out can be traced back to debutante balls, in which upper class women came out to society and made herself available for prospective suitors. According to Weinberg, gay and lesbian individuals took this idea and made it their own.

Contrary to false representations in the media, Weinberg emphasized the fact that coming out doesn’t necessarily entail a public declaration.

Following his lecture, Weinberg presented an array of colorful paintings, most of which were nude portraits, which he said were an attempt to express the sexuality that homosexual individuals are constantly encouraged to suppress.

Also included in his collection were paintings of the mug shots of public figures such as Pee-wee Herman, who was arrested in 1991 for masturbating publicly, and former United States Senator Larry Craig, who was arrested in 2007 for lewd behavior in a men’s restroom.

According to Weinberg, these paintings of public figures help the public to explore “what it means to be disgraced,” as well as the concept of identity.

While coming out may be an important step for an individual trying to assert their own identity, Weinberg says that the concept of coming out is not necessarily about sexuality: “It’s about being who you are, whatever that is.”

Eliasoph agreed that there are many misconceptions that surround today’s sex culture: “We need to wrap our minds around the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ that surround sexuality issues,” he said.

Although LGBT month is winding down, there are several events still to come in the next week.

According to Anna Lawrence, co-director of the women, gender and sexuality studies program, next on the docket will be the discussion of a possible gender-neutral bathroom to be located in the Barone Campus Center. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 29 in the McCormick Commons.

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