Rebekah Frank, Louisville, Kentucky
Queer? I love it. It’s a celebration. It’s open. It’s ambiguous. It’s comfortable. It represents infinite possibilities of what it means to be not straight and I love that.
You could be anything you want. Originally, I came out as bisexual when I was 12…to my parents, not just my friends. Saying you are bisexual creates doubt from straight community and creates doubt in the gay community. It seems to lack legitimacy for either party. Straight people sexualize you and fetishize you, and gay people just don’t believe or are suspicious.
My dad told me it was a phase straight to my face. My mom’s side of the family was much more accepting and supportive. Flash forward 11 years, it’s clearly not a phase.
A couple of years back, my sister came out as trans. I don’t know what my mom would’ve done had she not had a queer kid already. I’m not saying coming out as trans is the same as coming out as bisexual, but I sometimes think that my queerness kind of paved the way for my sister coming out.
My mom is very accepting. She corrects people on the words they use and asks intentional questions regarding pronouns or how to best support people who are transitioning. She’s super awesome. I’m particularly impressed with her because she didn’t come from a liberal family, so she kind of defies expectation in that sense.
[My husband, JP] grew up in Louisville doing theater and really identified with the queer community. Not he himself as queer, but has always been an ally. He has always been in queer spaces and theater has that relationship with queerness. He’s really the only man/person that I can be as openly queer as I want to with.
My identity has never been compromised by being with him. I can still be with women because some days I feel like I identify as a lesbian. He doesn’t feel offended or rejected.
It’s so weird being queer in Kentucky. In Kentucky, conservatism can have a touch of “family is family, you love them anyway” but it’s not the norm to be accepting.
In DC, where I went to university, it was a lot easier to be queer. In Louisville, you’re still navigating spaces, asking, “Is our queerness compatible? Are you problematic in someway that wont jive with my queer politics?” In D.C. we were all on the same page. It was revolutionary for me.