Fatoumata Bajo is a volunteer with Fruit Bowl 2007. The event is a just-for-fun bowling tournament benefitting the HRC Coming Out Project – DFW. It will feature a contest for the best Las Vegas style costume, a “Scratch-Off Ticket” raffle and the chance to be married by Elvis. Fruitbowl is Sunday, July 22, at 1 p.m. Cost is $25 per person with teams of four.
How did you get involved with this event?
I’ve wanted to get involved with the Coming Out Project since I came out. I am friends with both of the co-chairs this year, and they have both been so welcoming to new volunteers. I went to one committee meeting, and I knew I was in the right spot. I’ve been helping ever since.
What are you looking forward to most about it?
I’ve never been to Vegas, so the whole Vegas theme is pretty exciting to me. I’ll get to see Elvis, watch people get married at the chapel, catch a show and see games of all sorts. I’m also excited about all of the new people I’ll meet.
What will the money raised be used for?
The money goes towards the Coming Out Project and all of the activities leading to the National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. including the signature ad, special section and local projects like Stickout and the Coming Out Project workshops.
Why is the Coming Out Project an important cause to you?
The Coming Out Project is especially important to me because I just came out last year on Christmas Eve. I was out to myself for a year or two before that, but I was still in the closet to my family, friends and colleagues. I spent 2006 more involved in the Dallas queer community by volunteering with the many activities and events of the Resource Center of Dallas, OUT TAKES Dallas event volunteering and other queer organizations. Through my time with those organizations and having the opportunity to meet outstanding queer role models for me, I was able to understand the destructive power of shame and the true liberation of pride. Coming out was the best gift I’ve given to myself, and the Coming Out Project is providing education and resources to those who want to embrace that freedom.
What would you tell someone on the fence about whether or not to attend Fruitbowl?
I would encourage anyone and everyone to come out to Fruitbowl! If you enjoy bowling, it will be a great opportunity to meet other queer bowlers and even get connected with some of our queer bowling leagues in the area. If you aren’t too big on bowling, it’s still a fantastic way to meet new people in the DFW area. You’ll find tons of Vegas fun whether you are coming alone or with a group.
Soundout is a weekly column featuring people whose jobs and interests have an impact on the daily lives of members of the LGBT community. It features those who often go unnoticed by the press and community. If you’d like to recommend someone to cover in this column, contact staff writer Ben Briscoe at briscoedallasvoice.com.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 13, 2007
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