Climate change is important topic for this Queer Kentuckian

Casey

What do you identify as? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything?
I am a non-binary lesbian because I personally do not subscribe to a male or female identity but sexually identify as lesbian.

What does the word Queer mean to you?
It means taking a weapon (a harmful word) from my oppressor and making it my own as to ensure they can no longer harm me.

Where are you from and explain what it was like growing up/living in Kentucky?
I was raised in Wilmore and currently live in Lancaster. Growing up and living in Kentucky has been challenging (and blood at times) but it has helped me build character. I started working on natural gas lines in Hazard at age 13 and became a volunteer EMT at age 19. Now, I currently operate the first and only residential and commercial curbside compost service. As a queer person who used to work in the fossil fuel industry, my identity as an environmentalist is parallel to my identity as an Appalachian.

What would you say to anyone struggling to come into their own identity?
Self care and safety is important. You might not ALWAYS feel prideful of who you are and your sexuality but remember that pride is fluid and ever-changing, but living out your true self is not always so.

How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
I am seen as confident and blunt. My ability to be obviously queer in unfriendly spaces has helped me socially and politically.

What issues do you see in the queer community?
Climate change, fascism, and community connection.

What do you think would solve those issues?
Following your own interests and heart, whether it be focusing in climate change, veteran wellfare, racial justice, etc. It is important to do what fills your soul with purpose and joy.

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?
Absolutely because I am not particularly interest in club culture, pop culture, or even hipster culture. I enjoy being with my compost piles and other folks who enjoy talking about climate change.

Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)
I feel at my best in the garden or in front of a classroom or group of politicians.

Who influenced the life you live now?
My mother, who helped gently push me out of the closet. She has always been my biggest advocate and has always pushed me to live a life of integrity and grace.