Chris Hartman, Louisville, Kentucky
What does the word Queer mean to you?
Queer, while still steeped in a complicated history, and hurtful to many, has overall become what I feel is among the most inclusive terms—an umbrella that works to leave no one out. I definitely identify as a member of our inclusive queer community.
Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?
Louisville. Things were always interesting going through all Catholic schools for sixteen years running. I definitely found some inclusive pockets and spaces, but it was never particularly easy. A number of us ended up coming out at St. X in the late ‘90s, and we felt a decent degree of support from many faculty and students, but it still didn’t feel like an inclusive culture. Things were even tougher being out at Bellarmine University (then College) in the late ‘90s. LGBTQ folks were barely visible there.
What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?
Take your time. This is your journey. Seek others like you and know that whoever you are, you’re amazing and beautiful at any point in your journey!
How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
Ever since coming out, I’ve felt proud to be queer, even when others sent me other signals. I’ve tried to carry myself and my work with that pride, and hope to always continue to do so.