OUTstanding Speaker Series debuts with “Portraits of Pride” creative director
Julienne Montrond, News Editor
October 2, 2023
The first OUTstanding Speakers Series session provides an enriching exchange of ideas and experiences as “Portraits of Pride” curator Jean Dolin speaks about his life, queerness, identity and self-expression. The event took place in the MLK room on Thursday, Sept. 28 during T- and X-block.
Shuffling into the MLK room, students and staff huddled together to listen to the first speaker from the OUTstanding Speaker Series, “Portraits of Pride” creative director Jean Dolin, who discussed the importance of identity and self-expression on Thursday, Sept. 28 during T- and X-block.
As they entered the room, students were greeted by Dolin and discussion facilitators sophomore Alma Ferreira and senior Ezra Weintraub. During the event, Dolin gave attendees advice on how to navigate coming out to family members who may have a limited view of queer life. He acknowledged parents may have a hard time accepting their children’s true identities, but that acceptance is necessary in order for children to have a safe environment where they can express themselves.
“If people don’t see you, don’t love you, don’t understand you, they simply don’t have the capacity to,” Dolin said.
For his work as the curator of “Portraits of Pride”, a photography exhibit showcasing LGBTQ+ leaders in Boston, Dolin was chosen to be a member of the 2023 cohort of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Local: Boston. He was born in Haiti and moved to the United States in 2012 at age 16. He came to America reckoning with his sexual orientation and said he had a vision of creating a Boston that fosters a safe environment for freedom of expression that stretches to all aspects of diversity, including LGBTQ+ identities, neurodivergence and more.
Many students asked Dolin questions about being queer. Freshman Arya Kheder said this was their first time talking to an LGBTQ+ leader, and their conversations with Dolin allowed them to think and speak freely about their queer identity for the first time.
“He was so good at making me feel like I was being seen. I felt like I was being understood,” Kheder said. “This gave me more courage, inspiration and ambition.”
The audience was made up of students and staff from different affinity groups and safe spaces, like the African American and Latino Scholars Program, the Gender Sexuality Alliance, the Queer Action Club, School Within a School and the LGBTQ+ wellness class. Dolin said he appreciates the school’s efforts to create these communities that support various student identities.
“This school really cares about you all to have put this together, and you have really amazing teachers and faculty that you can reach out to,” Dolin said.
The OUTstanding Speaker Series, a monthly event subsidized by the Brookline High School Innovation Fund, honors the legacy of the late Vivian Jewell ‘20. Terry Jewell, her mother, said she wanted the event to inspire LGBTQ+ youth to visualize successful futures by engaging in discussions with role models within the community.
“I want the students who do identify as queer to feel comfortable in that, to celebrate that,” Jewell said. “[I want them] to think, ‘Here is someone who is successful. I can be successful too, and I can feel good about who I am.’”