‘Learn to fall in love WITH yourself. Know that you were put here for a reason just like every one else’

SWAN DEL Rey, Henderson

What do you identify as? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything?

I identify as male because society says I am even though I feel like I am part women too. I am not a fan of labels — it puts restraints and limits on your growth. I hate feeling caged.What does the word Queer mean to you?Intentionally sounds kind of rude because of how it was introduced to me. Now as and adult it means courageous and BEAUTIFUL!Where are you from and explain what it was like growing up/living in Kentucky?

I grew up in Henderson. For me growing up was kind of difficult. From a very young age I knew I was super different and so did everyone else. I was teased and picked on from the time I hit preschool on up into my mid 20s. You’re told that you’re going to hell quit frequently, which caused me a lot of anxiety and fear. I used to pray every night until my head would hurt for god to change me. There was no one to identify with and all the people who where known gays where singled out and talked about and you were told to stay away from them. I felt very alone and like a circus freak. I did manage to make friends with really awesome people during high school who helped build me up and stand up for me.

What would you say to anyone struggling to come into their own identity?

Learn to fall in love WITH yourself. Know that you were put here for a reason just like every one else. If people (no matter if they are related to you or not) don’t know how to accept you thats thier problem not yours. They don’t deserve a place in your life unless they are willing to treat you the way you deserve.

Remeber this precious girft called life is yours. Live it and own it to the fullest no matter what. Once it’s over, it’s over! You dont get to come back.

How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?

My identity is mine and its unique. It is very important to always be sure of myself and embrace myself. Because when I feel like I have to hide or water myself down I feel so unhappy.

What issues do you see in the queer community?

I feel like thier are to many lables and the pressure to be catergorized.

What do you think would solve those issues?

If we would stop being so shallow and judgmental and actually take the time out to get know the persons heart instead of what they are wearing.

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?

Yes! Everytime I go to an event or gay club in the midwest no matter how friendly and approachable I make myself.

All I get are dirty looks or critiqued.

Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)

West Coast where I went to school. It was so diverse there. I felt like for the first I was an equal.

Who influenced the life you live now?

My grandfather. He was a well-known and respected pastor in my hometown. He was ALWAYS kind and made me feel special and loved. He was so brave and strong. He told me that no matter what I’ll always love you and pray for you like everyone else and that meant a lot to me because most of the males in my life including my father werent even BRAVE enough to do that.

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