What does the word queer mean to you?
The word queer to me is all inclusive. It took me a long time to feel as if it was my word too. I felt excluded from the word for many years. I felt as if it was meant for gay men in my younger years now I know it reaches all of us. It’s a word we all should feel safe identifying as.
How do you identify?
I identify as a high feminine presenting lesbian.
What are your pronouns? Why are they important?
She/Her My pronouns are important because they represent my inner workings.
Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all?
I’ve always felt as if I was high femme. I enjoy all the things that come with the lifestyle. I feel my best in satins and faux furs. I idolize classic femme fatales.
Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?
I was born here in Kentucky and raised in Texas. I love Louisville for the most part. I did date a woman that lived in Lexington and I felt that is where I had to hide my identity more. She made me feel as if Lexington was more homophobic. She said it was more “small town with traditional values”. I did struggle with that.
What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?
Be patient with yourself. I am guilty of being frustrated with dating closeted women but I now know it’s unfair to be upset or pushy with others. Everyone blooms in their own time. Journaling helps. I created a storyline in high school that helped with my coming out. My illustrations and imagination saved me.
How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
My identity is vocal, proud, and imaginative. My inner being speaks love into me. It carries me like a mother holds her child against her breast. When I’m hard on myself I feel as if there is an inner voice that’s like a guardian angel. It says “stand strong, you are worthy”.
What issues do you see in the queer community?
Where do I start? It’s not inclusive at all. It’s a facade or at least in my past it was. The “community” I experienced as a young queer was judgmental. I felt as if I didn’t fit in. It was a lot of body shaming, gossip, and drama. It’s a lot of who slept with who nonsense. I didn’t see myself in queer media either. I was a girl that day dreamt about being with another feminine woman. I see a lot of masc and femme or masc and masc. Femme women together has always been fetishized. Especially by cis men.
What do you think would solve those issues?
I think mixing groups will help. Sure, have your close friends that understand and experience your version of sexuality and gender but also be willing to make friends that are a lot different from you. Be willing to learn about the other acronyms in our community. Embrace them as your own. I see a lot of exclusion currently. I experience it a lot. I’ve seen in social media queers excluding others just like cis straight people did them. I started adding characters into my storyline that show each part of our community. I think visibility is very important.
Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?
I lightly touched on this in the question above. I don’t see myself in the community. Sure, I have shows like the L word but it’s just filled with drama. I wanna see more day to day stories about lesbians. Not the drama, the cheating and the confusion. Normalize queer lifestyle without all the scandal.
Do you feel safe as a trans or nonbinary person?
I don’t identify as either but will do everything in my power to protect and stand for my loved ones who are.
Do you feel safe as a BIPOC trans or nonbinary person?
I am not a part of this marginalized group. All I can do to help is educate myself and others. Support BIPOC trans and non-binary people by listening and donating.
Who influenced the life you live now?
My imaginary character Stella Adiemus. Stella is a confident, driven, and fashionable femme lesbian. She runs her own business and thrives in being her authentic self. I pulled her character concepts from Wonder Woman, Lana Del Ray, Elizabeth Montgomery, and other Old Hollywood Icons.
Please feel free to add anything else. Your feature doesn’t have to be these questions. If you have any art, poems, songs, design, politics, or any other expression, feel free to display those and speak on them as your feature. It’s your feature, and it is up to you!
I included recent doodles of my characters Stella and London. London is my current state I feel. She’s in her mid twenties and kind of all over the place. She spends her time worrying about how others view her and what she’ll accomplish in life. She craves a strong role model. What she doesn’t know is that she’s strong-willed and capable.