WSC alumnus presents on LGBTQ experience

Linnea Vogel, Staff Writer

Ron Holt, a board-certified psychiatrist and a Wayne State College alumnus, spoke to WSC students on Oct. 2 and 3 about the journey to true authenticity.

Holt’s theme was the importance of living your truth because the only life worth living is one you are truly authentic about.

“It is important to live your true authentic self, and when you are able to do that, doors open for you and you can live the life you were always meant to live,” Holt said.

Holt said his journey to becoming his true self allows him to lead a great life now. He is currently working as a student health physician at San Francisco State University and travels the country presenting experimental learning seminars on the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and mental health. Holt also talks about lesbian, gay and transgender healthcare to doctors.

“The LGBTQ community is aware of the problems that they face, so often times my talks are targeted to the allies and people who don’t necessarily know what the LGBTQ community is going through because knowledge is power,” Holt said. “When we are able to educate others, that allows them to become advocates for those who can’t advocate for themselves.”

According to Holt, his true authentic self wasn’t always one he felt he could be openly proud of. His father made frequent homophobic comments while he was growing up, so while he knew he was gay, he internalized those comments and hid his feelings.

Holt said he started college at Midland University and then transferred to Wayne State College after a year. Holt said he was still hiding that part of himself in college and leading a “double life” while being a track athlete, a resident assistant, and a pre-medicine student.

“I probably could have done better in track or getting good grades,” Holt said. “It is hard to focus on that stuff when you’re worrying about if someone is going to out me.”

After the fall semester of his freshman year in medical school in 1989, Holt came out to his father. Holt said it was the most freeing time of his life. His father’s response was not the one he had hoped, and Holt was kicked out of his home.

Holt said his father threatened to kill Holt and his partner. In response, Holt had to threaten to call the police to stop the harassment.

“Personally, I related to pretty much every point in Dr. Holt’s coming out story,” WSC Student Adam Smith said. “It can be one of the most uplifting experiences, especially if you have a good support system, but it can also be very difficult, and so his talk really hit home with the idea that being authentic and honest with yourself is one of the most liberating experiences you can have.”

While working in the corporate world, Holt started coming to WSC to give talks for LGBTQ students and allies. Holt said he started coming to WSC because he felt like he didn’t have support when he went to school on campus, and he wanted to change that for future students.

“I come to Wayne because when I was a student there were no resources for me, and I realized how desperately I wanted a mentor when I was here,” Holt said. “I want to be the mentor I needed when I was young and at Wayne State.”

Holt said his final step to true authenticity was quitting his corporate job, and started travelling around the country giving presentations, writing books and creating coloring books to inform people about different social concepts related to gender, LGBTQ and people of color.