What does the word queer mean to you?
It’s just a label of me honestly.. a proud label of course. I’m also Hispanic, Irish and Native American and I’m proud at that also so I pretty much just categorise it as such.
How do you identify?
Explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?
Growing up here has had its ups and downs like everywhere but I don’t think you can really dismiss the scenery and events that happen in Louisville. It’s not too small and not too big. I like the fact that it’s driving distance to Nashville for concerts and close enough to Chicago to spend a long weekend.
Plus, the food here… to die for.
What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?
Grow some thick skin and give it time. Your time is yours and when it comes you’ll know. However, that’s hypocritical sense I came out in a video on Facebook just to get everyone in high school to quit whispering about it as some rumour. So posting the video was my way of taking back what was being spread about me at a time that I wasn’t fully wanting it to be out. Since it was mine and only mine, I decided to take the narrative back and do it on my terms. I was lucky enough to have a good amount of support from my peers but of course you will always have some people out there that just want to attack others.
How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
It for sure gives me a purpose and sense of a reason to keep my neck stiff on my shoulders. I came out at 16 and was blessed to have as much support as I did. I have had great people around me my whole life that have showed me to just be my authentic self and that really registered with me as I hit high school and just craved that feeling so once I got it I knew it was drive.
What issues do you see in the queer community?
Mental illness and substance abuse.
What do you think would solve those issues?
I think us talking about it now is the first step. I have an issue with how commercialized it is for drinking (alcohol commercials etc). It’s a social norm for people to go out and drink as an activity and I find that kind of sad. However, drug abuse and honestly all other forms of abuse in all communities I find to be a major inner issue that we’ve yet to chip at fully.
Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community?
I’m confused by the question based on the fact that I don’t know what “mainstream” queer community even is. I’d assume no though.
Why or why not?
I never go out and I don’t really keep up with trends to be honest. Keeping track of all that seems exhausting with the one life that we aren’t guaranteed everyday ya know? Mainstream is so over-played.
Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc).
I think it depends on the situation. Every moment offers something new. Like right now I’m in line for a DJ show hosted by Maggie Rogers that randomly popped up and I happened to be in Nashville at the time. All the proceeds from the show go to support planned parenthood and I find it to be extremely important. It was a sign to be honest but I’m extremely happy and feeling comfortable right here in the present.
Who influenced the life you live now?
My family. They tried their absolute best and I’m not the best son/brother but I’m trying to figure out how to be and they’ve been so understandingly patient with that and I couldn’t be happier to have the family I have. I was pretty rough to be around in my late teens and early-early twenty’s but I’ve had a couple humbling moments in my life that have re-adjusted my view of how I want to be presented. I’m extremely blessed to have them. I love them.
I scrapbook. I have a journal I’m currently working on right now that is just filled with pictures, writings and drawings of all sorts. I really enjoy taking in every moment. It’s just something very important to myself.