Cormier has found her­self

‘It’s get­ting bet­ter but there’s still some stigma’

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - SHARON MONT­GOMERY sharon.mont­gomery @cb­post.com @cape­bre­ton­post

SYDNEY — Kyla Cormier has not only found her­self, but also her fu­ture.

“If you don’t know who you are and you’re strug­gling with your iden­tify, it’s hard to be happy and con­tent in life be­cause there’s al­ways this in­ter­nal strug­gle of ‘who am I?’ and ‘where do I fit in?’” said Cormier, 25, of Whit­ney Pier, a pro­duc­tion tech­ni­cian at the High­land Arts The­atre in Sydney.

Cormier is pan­sex­ual. Be­ing bi­sex­ual means be­ing at­tracted to more than one gen­der, while be­ing pan­sex­ual means be­ing at­tracted to peo­ple re­gard­less of gen­der.

“I don’t look at the gen­der of the per­son, I look at who they are and what’s in their mind and their hearts,” Cormier said.

How­ever it was a strug­gle to get there, there were doubts and there was pain.

Cormier was only 15 when she first came out as a les­bian to her close friends and par­ents.

At­tend­ing the former Holy An­gels high school in Sydney at the time, she says it wasn’t easy be­ing in the midst of the teenage years when you’re still try­ing to find who you are and where you fit in.

“Grow­ing up I was strug­gling with, ‘Am I at­tracted to this per­son or am I just think­ing that I am be­cause I’m told that I should be?’” she said. “There was a joke go­ing around my school that if you’re bi­sex­ual or pan you’re just greedy be­cause you just want ev­ery­body.”

Cormier said those com­ments hurt.

“It def­i­nitely didn’t make you want to come out any­time soon.”

As well, she said there was a stigma from some in the LGBTQ+ com­mu­nity, at­tached to those iden­ti­fy­ing as bi­sex­ual and pan, it was more looked at as if a per­son would be “in-be­tween” de­cid­ing if they were straight or gay.

As a re­sult she said there was that fear — if you come out as any­thing but a les­bian, that you’d be re­jected by the queer com­mu­nity.

“It has def­i­nitely got­ten bet­ter over the years, but when I first came out it was a big fear of not be­long­ing any­more,“she said. “It took me a while to (dis­cover) I was pan­sex­ual and not just a les­bian. It’s get­ting bet­ter but there’s still some stigma there.”

While find­ing her­self, she also found her pas­sion.

Grow­ing up you see op­tions for chil­dren in the­atre through act­ing but never in be­hind-the-scenes roles such as a the­atre tech­ni­cian, she said.

While at­tend­ing Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity, the­atre sud­denly ap­peared be­fore her and she re­al­ized she didn’t have to be an ac­tor to get in­volved. Three years ago she be­gan vol­un­teer­ing at the High­land Arts The­atre and it has evolved into a full-time job.

“It be­comes a pas­sion, you do it be­cause you love it,” she said. “The the­atre right now has be­come my whole life.”

The COVID-19 pan­demic put a lot of the the­atre’s plans on hold but Cormier spent the down time at the the­atre do­ing ren­o­va­tions and paint­ing.

“Just do­ing some facelift to the build­ing so when we re­open it (would be) a lit­tle nicer for ev­ery­body.”

Al­though the big shows and events were can­celled, the the­atre adapted in­no­va­tive ideas that Cormier ex­cit­edly talked about.

In July pri­vate movie screen­ings were hosted for any­one wish­ing to see a movie on the big screen. Now a re­vived sea­son is bring­ing the­atre back to the pub­lic in a safe way. Able to ac­com­mo­date 400 pa­trons, they will seat 50-75 as a so­ciald­is­tanced au­di­ence.

This month the usual 20-per­son pro­duc­tions are re­placed with one and twop­er­son pro­duc­tions. “House” is a one-per­son pro­duc­tion by Daniel MacIvor and “John and Jen” fea­tures Emily O’Leary and Kevin Mun­roe.

The the­atre also has an in­no­va­tive fundraiser of monthly do­na­tions un­der­way, with a goal to raise $50,000 to pro­vide free the­atre.

“Once we have that (money) we don’t need to charge for tick­ets, ev­ery­thing is free,” she said.

“Mak­ing it ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one is go­ing to be a great thing for the com­mu­nity as a whole.”

Cormier said con­tent­ment in find­ing her­self has brought peace as she con­tin­ues her fu­ture in the­atre, where she con­cen­trates on grow­ing and push­ing the bound­aries of what she does.

For any­one go­ing through what she did grow­ing up, Cormier en­cour­ages peo­ple to keep in mind no mat­ter how you iden­tify, the peo­ple in your life who mat­ter aren’t go­ing to judge you for it and if they do, they don’t de­serve to be in your life.

“I think find­ing your­self is a strug­gle es­pe­cially if you don’t have the knowl­edge (of) what’s out there but ev­ery­one comes to it in their own time.”

SHARON MONT­GOMERY-DUPE • CAPE BRE­TON POST

Kayla Cormier, 25, of Whit­ney Pier, at the High­land Arts The­atre in Sydney, where she’s em­ployed as a pro­duc­tion tech­ni­cian. Cormier said she’s pan­sex­ual and al­though there’s still a stigma at­tached, she’s con­tent in her heart now, hav­ing found her­self.

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