Cormier has found herself
‘It’s getting better but there’s still some stigma’
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.”
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.