Battle Creek

Voices of Youth: Battle Creek teen explores coming out safely through her comic art

Editor's Note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's Voices of Youth Battle Creek program which is supported by the BINDA Foundation, City of Battle Creek, Battle Creek Community Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Voices of Youth Battle Creek Artist Athena McCarthy worked with Art Mentor Casey Grooten to create a comic strip that represented a range of situations for youth who struggle with coming out safely to friends and families. “A lot of my friends haven’t come out to their parents because they’re nervous or afraid. Some have tried to talk to their parents and it didn’t work out well," says Athena."I wanted to bring to light the different experiences people can have when coming out. It happens at different times and people need to do it when they’re ready.”

Athena McCarthy, a Battle Creek Voices of Youth participant, is 15 years old and a freshman in high school. They are homeschooled and are also part of Kellogg Community College's high school dual enrollment program. Athena is interested in journalism because they know they want to be heard, and to help others' stories to be heard. They have made art as long as they can remember, and recently got good at writing graphic novels. Time to themself makes them the happiest, especially if there is good music playing and art supplies nearby. Some jobs that Athena would love to have in the future would be a graphic novel artist, a graphic designer, or, once they get better at it, an animator. 

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