A volleyball player celebrates on the court with their teammates.

The first time Marcus Morgan wore makeup out in public was for his Grade 12 prom.

Morgan, a star student athlete with the Humber Hawks men’s volleyball team, discovered his love of makeup as a teenager. It’s a form of expression for Morgan to be his authentic and creative self. Those who visit his Instagram account are treated to videos and images of Morgan showing off his different looks and cosmetics skills. One video has more than one million views.

Morgan, who’s enrolled in Humber’s Cosmetic Management program, loves glamour and beauty and embraces both his masculine and feminine energy whether on the court or in the classroom. He came out to his family as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in his teens and thanks them for the love and support they have shown him.

A head-and-shoulders photo of a person.

He reminisced about the love and support he’s felt from his family – how his mom drove him to his prom and his uncle helped him pick out his suit – and what it meant to him.  

“I feel so safe and loved with my family that I’m able to express who I am, and that sense of security allows me to be my authentic self,” said Morgan. “Having my family support me in everything I’m doing is a huge blessing.”

On the court, Morgan isn’t shy about being himself. He’s heard disparaging and hurtful comments, particularly when he paints his nails, but refuses to let these moments wound him.

“Negativity is going to happen, but I don’t let it ruin things or stop me from being motivated to reach my goals in life,” said Morgan. “I use it as fuel instead of letting it get me down.”

In fact, those negative comments were spun into a slogan – Tough as Nails – that he’s adopted.

A volleyball player spikes a ball as the opposing team tries to block it.

Morgan is coming off an impressive season in which the Hawks won their fourth consecutive Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) championship and fell just shy of finishing on the podium at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) tournament. Morgan was named the Player of the Game of the OCAA championship with a game high 21 points and 10 digs. He was also named to the all-star tournament team and was the MVP of the tournament.

“It was pure bliss,” said Morgan, who was also named a CCAA First-Team All-Star, an OCAA Second Team All-Star, won the Doug Fox Award of Distinction and was twice named OCAA Athlete of the Week and Humber Athlete of the Week.

A person holds an award while standing in front of a banner that reads Home of the Humber Hawks.

Morgan, who was more of a supporting player his first season with the Hawks, was a starter this year. Knowing he could take on a bigger role, he dedicated pretty much his entire summer to training. 

His time at Humber has been rewarding and he’s thoroughly enjoying his program. The fact that it offered business education along with cosmetics won Morgan over when he was making his post-secondary choice. Down the line, he hopes to market his own line of beauty products one day.

Morgan feels welcomed and accepted by his professors and classmates at Humber and loves what he’s learning. He says the atmosphere in class is tremendous.

“Finding yourself is huge for your confidence and when you’re being your real self you can speak your truth and there’s no more hiding,” said Morgan. “Humber is such an amazing and supportive place where you can be exactly who you are.”

Morgan hopes to be an inspiration for others in his community and says it’s okay to have questions and moments of doubt on the journey to finding out who you are because, eventually, you will.