SURG: Caroline

Jun. 29, 2024

Caroline Humphrey

Caroline Humphrey


Caroline Humphrey is a rising fourth-year majoring in Theatre. She hopes to create a written work about queer women and their femininity, and has ideas on how to continue her project after the summer.

Tell me about your SURG topic.

Humphrey: Honestly, my SURG is not quite fully fleshed out yet. But what I had in my proposal is basically exploring the relationship between queer women and their queerness and femininity. That was just brought about from my own coming out and figuring out how that would affect my presentation. Also, I kept coming across these blog posts or Instagram posts about queer women feeling the need to present differently after coming out. There was this one blog post that this woman posted while she was at Pride about this man coming up to her and knowing that she was with a woman, but being like, ‘I think you would look great with a man.’ So just how femininity is sometimes seen as counter to queerness. I’m going to end up doing a series of interviews with different queer women, hopefully all different ages and backgrounds, and then create some sort of performance piece short project.

What are you looking forward to with this project?

Humphrey: It’s really just understanding more about my identity. I come from a smaller town or suburb in the South. Where I went to high school, literally not a soul was out. Even at Northwestern, it took me a long time to find other people who were queer and it took me a long time to realize that about myself. I feel like I still have a lot of questions and a lot that I don’t know about who I am or how I feel about this part of my identity, like a lot of things that I still want to work through and find in other people. I’m really excited to learn more about all of that.

This seems like a very ‘you’ project.

Humphrey: Yeah, I’m really excited about it. I feel like I did my SURG very last minute. I emailed Peter Civetta, who helped me with everything, I think a week and a half before the proposal was due with basically no idea about what I wanted to do. I just knew that I wanted to explore different identities and to create something. I feel like I’ve done a ton of acting throughout my time at Northwestern and I’ve really enjoyed it, but I miss the act of creation, of totally creating something from scratch. I was interested in exploring more about me and my identity and myself and also putting something out in the community that might resonate. That’s where it came from.

What is your hope for people who see this project in the future?

Humphrey: I think there’s a lot of people at Northwestern who do have a huge community around them that they see themselves and their sexuality and identity in. I didn’t really have that for a long time. What I’m really interested in creating is a space where people feel less alone in how they’re feeling. I don’t think I have to do a lot of work on that. I think it’s just telling people’s stories and listening. But I want to create a space that celebrates that identity and explores it and helps people feel seen.

Meet the other SURG Recipients!