WSC October 2-3, 2019

On October 2 and 3, Dr. Holt shared his inspiring personal story from hiding to thriving, which allowed him to become the LGBTQ+ advocate he is today. His story included the theme of following your heart and passion in life.

Attendees among both sessions included Wayne State faculty, staff, and students.

Written audience feedback/impact of this presentation:

Wow. This was an amazing talk. I am impressed by how open you were willing to be. You have really opened my eyes to the LGBTQ community. I now have a much more open mind to the struggles that people face with being gay. I will be much more open to people around me and their struggles. I will be much more supportive to those who may be different from myself.

You are such an incredible and inspiring person. Your speech really opened my views on the world. I appreciate that you take the time to come speak with us students at Wayne State College. I learned we all have our own story as well as our own things that make us unique. It is more than okay to be different from everyone else. I have never been one to judge others, but after today’s speech, I will never think of myself as being superior to anyone…no matter what their circumstances are. It breaks my heart to find out that individuals suffer such severe consequences for being attracted to the same gender.

Thank you for your strength. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for sharing your story and helping me see it’s okay to be your true self. I learned to never hide yourself, never give up, and life is too short to be scared. I want to follow my dreams! I think I’ll switch my major to musical performance. When I am on Broadway, I’ll invite you with front row seats. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing your story! It has changed my life of the better! I learned a life without authenticity is not a life worth living. Every word you spoke today resonated with me, because I am currently going through the exact same things you did – especially in regard to the way your dad treated you.

Very informative and inspiring! It is great how one person can touch so many different people with different lives! I love your presentation. Very moving! I learned it is more thank ok to be who you are and never back down to others. Find your purpose and be who you want to be…always look for where you are supposed to be.

Very powerful as well as heartbreaking knowing what you went through and seeing the person you have become gives me hope. I learned that not everyone is going to love you for who you are, but that doesn’t mean pretend to be someone they will love. It’s different hearing the perspective of someone part of the community with years of experience prior to the age of technology. Hearing your story gave me a new view of how the world is and to see the beauty in it.

You are so strong for sharing your story. You have a big heart. I think that a lot of LGBTQ stories get jumbled together and people become desensitized to the trauma and hurt they really go through. You sharing your story helps this. You gave me a new perspective.

This is the second time I have listened to this presentation. It is so eye opening to hear about the struggles of others based off of their sexuality. I learned how much impact one person can make. I realized that everyone is dealing with something personal that most people have no idea about. Be kind to everyone, because you don’t know what they are going through.

I am very sorry you had to go through what you went through. What you are doing now is very inspiring and you’re very inspiring to others. This is just a constant reminder to treat everyone kindly because you never know what people are going through. This also inspires me to follow my passion. I learned to treat others how you want to be treated; follow your passion; always be kind to others; and be grateful for what you have.

Even though some people that listened to your talk today may not be part of the LGBTQ family, I feel that you made a good point of just being yourself. I loved this…just being more comfy with who you are.

Thank you so much for sharing! I learned I’m not alone and that LGBTQ+ struggles are real and so many people go through it. This just gave me a huge sense of hope and faith. Even though things may be extremely difficult right now, they can get better as long as you have hope within yourself.

This talk is very inspiring for young people who are struggling with situations like this. I love every bit of your message. I learned to accept everyone for who they are. That everyone is loved for who they are. This impacted me to learn more about people who are struggling with this. I love that your spreading this message to young adults.

Thank you! Just amazing to hear your story and have you on campus for our students. I learned there are still people out there whose parents hate them because they are gay. This just reminds me to pay attention to other’s needs and hope I can be there for anyone who needs me.

Very inspirational and based on the questions the audience agrees. I learned we always have family of origin issues to work out no matter how old we get. This is a reminder to set the foundation to know they are safe with you.

I don’t have children but I do have a handful of kids (other people’s kids). Thanks to what I have learned from you, Karen, and the many LGBTQ students that I’ve worked with, I’ve become very aware (and careful) of how I talk about gender roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation around kids. I never assume little boys will grow up and marry a women. I never tease about them liking a girl or having a girlfriend. THANK YOU for helping change the way I talk to children and helping me become a safe person to talk to.

Thank you for all you have done. You seem great and help people all over, so thank you! I learned telling your story has helped a lot of people. You are ok with being in this community and it’s helpful to people all over.

You are a great person and speaker. I know that this doesn’t go with the comments, but this a little story I have. My parents never really supported PRIDE because that’s how they grew up. When I got to my teens I figured out that I liked girls. Over time I started talking to mom about LGBTQ because she knew nothing about it. I told her that I support people and just want people to be happy. I have done this for a while now and she now supports everyone now because of me explaining everything. She will even watch shows with LGBTQ members in them and talk to my father about this. I haven’t even come out yet, but I know my mom will try and understand. I learned to be yourself and don’t always worry about money when you need to follow your dreams. I will now be better at telling people how I feel.