Kentucky’s Tiki Queen says ‘diverse friends’ are key

Kody, Bullitt County

What does the word queer mean to you?

To me, the word queer is an umbreall term used to describe anyone that exists outside of societal terms. Growing up in a much more rural town, queer is still often used as a slander. I think it is beautiful how the term queer has been reclaimed not only by the community but by myself also. The word queer inspires me, its expressive, it’s encouraging.

How do I Identify?

I don’t think I identify in any particular way. Like anyone else, every occasion/crowd gets its own version of me. People joke that I need my own line of barbies because there are so many distinctive parts of who I am. There would be an army doll, a tiki doll, a cowboy doll, and my favorite, a leather doll.

Where am I from?

I grew up in Bullitt county, but outside of city limits on a small spot of land. I was raised by my grandparents, who are both evangelical christians. Our relationship was weird. I was always supported, loved, and encouraged to be myself but, at the same time, was constantly reminded that homosexuality was a sin/ perversion and a ticket straight to hell. In their older age my grandparents have definitly become more accepting of gay men and women, I like to think that loving and raising a gay man helped them realize that it was no ludacrious lifstyle and that we are also more than deserving of love and respect.

What do I say to someone that is struggling to come into their own identity?

Surround yourself with people that inspire you in different ways. I learned a lot of very important things about myself from several very important people. One person taught me a lot about love and self care, and what a home should be.

Another person inspired my fun, outgoing, and confident traits. Other people have taught me about commitment and friendship, and the importance of love and intimacy in platonic relationships.

It’s impossible to learn everything you need from one person, or a group of like minded people. Make as many diverse friends as you can and you will be the happiest you have ever been.

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