Ricki Redman, 23, Shively by way of Buffalo, LaRue County, KY
I live with my mom and take care of my grandma. My mom’s side of the family is from West Virginia. I’m a mixture of central Kentucky culture and Appalachian coal mining culture. I grew up on all the classic country gold. Willie, George, Patsy, Loretta, Tanya and so on. I love it.
I identify as Queer, pansexual…I don’t know — not straight. Queer is an umbrella term, gay, bisexual, whatever. I love the word queer. It’s still touchy to a lot of people but we as a community are taking the word back. It’s especially a great term for people who don’t know how to identify and people who don’t just identify as LGBT. Queer is not inherently a homophobic word. It just means different and it matters how it is used in context.
As a pansexual I say, “we’re about hearts, not parts.”
It makes it easier for people to get. But there’s still a lot of misunderstanding with non-conforming gender.
And I never had a formal “coming out.” I’m just alive and living who I want to be. No one owes anybody an explanation and no one owes anyone a coming out story. My mom raised me on Queer Eye, Will and Grace, and Golden Girls. I remember when RuPaul shows started and we watched them together.
My family is rural and from the mountains, but we’re very progressive people. I’ve never felt ashamed of my sexuality or myself around them. My mom told me if you are gay or whatever I don’t expect you to come out and tell me, “it’s none of my business and I’ll be fine with whoever you come home with.”
I had a comfortable and open up bringing with my mom. She literally says everything should be legal as long as you’re not hurting yourself or anyone else.
Just be who you are and love freely, but you have to keep yourself safe and be aware of your surroundings.
We have come so far as a community and if it wasn’t for a trans woman, your ass wouldn’t be dancing on a pride float — people need to respect their trans brothers and sisters.