By Warren Kuhlman | November 22, 2021
Julie Jasewicz has many roles on campus: Honors College psychology major, alto saxophone player for Jazz Band, Event Planning Committee chair, Artistic Engagement Committee member, and a Peer Career Advisor. The Newman Catholic Student Association is one interesting role she’s taken on: during freshman year, she became social chair, the next year treasurer, and finally president for her junior year.
“I had realized in middle school that I'm bisexual, but unless I'm in a position where I meet someone, maybe I don't need to say it. It was a lot of family stuff--my family's just been through a lot...in general. And I was like, this is just going to add to everybody's problem. So I'm just not going to say anything. And coming from a Catholic family, conservative at that, I had no idea how it was going to go. And so there's no point in putting myself in the situation of getting kicked out if I don't absolutely have to.
“But then the past year, I was realizing a lot of things about myself. I don't tend to talk about things that are necessarily important about me or for me, if I think it's gonna hurt someone else. That's not a good way to live life. I'm not going to feel good about myself if I keep doing this.”
“It was a hard process with my family. It’s a process I'm still actively going through. Because once I started dating my girlfriend, it was completely different because it wasn’t just something I was saying. It's not a phase. They visualize it as ‘Oh, it's her like lifestyle now.’ And so my mom was really weird about that. [She] didn't want me to bring my girlfriend home, doesn't want anyone in the town to know, still tells me that I need to stay closeted there and isn't taking it as well. But is also denying that that's what it is.”
“And her [mother’s] initial reaction was that she was really supportive upfront, but then she just kept saying, “You don't need other people to know. I support you, but the world probably won't. So it's better if you just don't share this.’”
“It was kind of funny that my brother was the one who accepted it immediately in more ways than just saying I still love you. Even the other day, he was giving me relationship advice. And he said one day you might meet a better girl or a better guy. It was just the sense of including both there. He would just talk to me about my girlfriend naturally, and that was really cool.”
“Newman was fine with it. Which is why I love it here because it's so wild to me that the most liberal space I'm in is a Catholic club. The irony, it's insane, but it's also kind of awesome. That was the space that was the most accepting and okay with me figuring things out and coming to terms with it myself.”
“I said what if I'm not gay enough? What if I'm not really part of the community? What if I'm not going to be accepted by it? You're like an imposter; you don't know who you are. But then I got over the initial shock of ‘I've shared this thing that was incredibly personal with the world.’ And it felt good. It just feels at peace. You just feel like yourself.”
“There is no one way to be queer. If you feel that about yourself--if a label fits you, if a label doesn't fit you and you choose not to use it, that's your choice as to who you are.”
“Who you tell and who you don't tell is also your choice. How expressive you are about it. And even with the advocacy thing I've had people tell me ‘I don't feel like I'm a good queer because I don't advocate enough.’ But it's not your place to fight every battle. It's no one's responsibility. So how involved or how not involved you get with these things is again your choice.”
“It's always best to lean into yourself and trust yourself because I think that you naturally find your people and your space and what role you're supposed to fit in that way.”
“And then being able to build that space for people with Newman was also a huge part of the process for me of being okay with it. Because, especially in religious spaces, there isn't that space for us. So being able to create that space and show people you can be someone who has faith and someone who's LGBTQ plus and that there is a place for that was really important.”