Kara Stone, senior film and moving image major, recalls their [Stone prefers the use of the pronoun ‘their’] college tenure as the semester races towards its conclusion.
Stone fell in love with cinematography while in the sixth grade, after buying a camcorder from their uncle. After taking a basic film class in high school, Stone decided to pursue higher education. Stone first heard of Stevenson while having dinner at the N.Y. Pizza Company, formerly located near the Owings Mills’ campus, with their mother. Stone was impressed by Stevenson’s film program, which was small and preparing to open new studios and bring in industry-standard cinema cameras. The campus is also close to Stone’s home.
Four years after applying, Stone has become as much of a mentor figure for their fellow students as any Mustang staff or faculty member. Stone has directed six short films, and is working on their senior thesis film, “Queer Camp,” of which they are most proud. Stone is also the president of Stevenson University’s LGBTQIA advocacy club, Q-Group.
Stone identifies as gender fluid, and prefers to be addressed by the pronouns they, their, them or theirs. Stone explains they were always aware of their gender identity and sexuality, but learned the terms and labels through Q-group. Stone’s family has been supportive ever since they came out as a lesbian during Stone’s junior year.
Dee Coleman, Stevenson senior and vice president of the Q-Group, met Kara when they were both first-year students. Coleman recalls watching Stone grow more comfortable with themselves and embracing the LGBT community. Coleman describes Stone as a hard worker who has gone out of their way to help others over the years.
“It’s been almost amazing to see the smile grown on their face,” said Coleman, who hopes to stay in the area after graduation and visit Q-group from time to time, and plans on dragging Stone along.
First-year Q-group member Gillian Nutter met Stone in September 2016. Nutter describes how Stone has helped her and other Q-group members gain confidence in various matters when they couldn’t confide in anyone else. Along with several Q-group members, Nutter affectionately refers to Stone and Coleman as ‘dad.’
Stone claims it was easy to come out as gay. “The staff has handled everything with grace and poise. Students typically have handled themselves the same, but there’s a lot of ignorance and confusion between gender minorities and sexual minorities.” Stone explains that most people can draw from their experience of finding love to understand sexual identity. Stone claims to understand how people can be confused if they meet someone who does not identify with the gender with which they were born, and explains further.
A gender fluid person may flip back and forth between masculine and feminine. In Stone’s case, they identify stronger with the masculine side of the scale. Gender fluidity typically manifests itself in people wanting to dress and portray themselves in a way that more closely aligns with how they feel versus how they look.
“I obviously do that by wearing man-pants with big pockets and loose-fitting clothing,” Stone pointed out.
Many transgender individuals may choose to take it a step forward by altering their body to more closely match their identity. After graduation, Stone plans on undergoing hormone therapy and top surgery. Their plans after graduation also include interning at Renegade Productions. Stone will also be working on three local feature films, and possibly working as a media specialist in Baltimore.