Terra Russell, Louisville
What does the word queer mean to you?
Queer means anything other than what is usually accepted as the norm.
How do you identify?
I identify as a bisexual, cis woman. I also identify as biromantic and queer.
Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all?
I call myself bisexual and biromantic because I experience romantic and sexual attraction to people of any gender. Some may prefer to use the words “pansexual” or “sexually fluid” to describe the same sentiment but, I have an attachment to the word “bisexual.” I don’t remember the first time I heard the word but, after learning its meaning I immediately identified with it. I use queer as a term for how I identify as well as my personality.
Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?
I’m originally from Louisville. I had a good upbringing but I always felt different. It wasn’t until I started to meet my “made family” that I started to feel more like myself.
What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?
I would say be true to yourself despite what others may say or think. I regret letting the opinions of others prevent me from being authentic in the past.
How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
I don’t think my identity runs how I carry myself.
What issues do you see in the queer community?
I see issues of self medicating through substance abuse and sex. Our community tends to congregate in places that promote binge drinking and hook up culture.
What do you think would solve those issues?
I think having more queer sober spaces would help. We all need to get comfortable with being ourselves and interacting with each other without being inebriated.
I organize the LGBTQ+ weekly sober meetup at Louisville Youth Group. It takes place every Monday at 7:15 p.m.
GLAST stands for Gays & Lesbians Achieving Sobriety Together. GLAST is the only Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer + substance use prevention & resource program in the Greater Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky / Louisville area. We are not affiliated with any 12 step group, religious organization or medical group. However, we do work with these groups to help others recover from addiction. We are a tax exempt 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?
Yes, I do feel excluded. Mostly because I am usually perceived as straight even in queer spaces. When I am recognized as queer, I still feel excluded because of my gender. I am often the only cis woman in the queer spaces I frequent.
Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)?
I feel my best at home with my cat. One of my favorite things to do is sit on the couch in pjs with my cat and watch trashy reality TV. That’s where I feel most comfortable, safe and happy.
Who influenced the life you live now?
My queer friends. I’ve been blessed to have crossed paths with some of the bravest, fiercest people that have taught me how to live in my truth and own it.