Amanda, Madisonville, Ky
To me the word queer means that there is fluidity to my life and to my sexual attractions. I identify as queer or pansexual because I am attracted to who I am attracted to and their gender identification is not a factor in that attraction.
I am originally from a rural part of the state near Madisonville, Ky. I grew up in a dysfunctional Southern Baptist family. I knew from an early age that I was queer, but didn’t talk about it.
I struggled a lot with being ashamed of myself during my childhood and teen years.
It takes time to come to terms with who you are and can sometimes feel overwhelming. Just know that you are important and loved. My queer identity has lead me to create my own “chosen family” of folks who are not biologically related to me, but are my Family. I feel at my best when I am spending time with my queer family and we are living our best lives. There is something magical about sharing space with people who just get you.
My identify has also led me to get involved in social justice and mental health. It shapes how I interact with the world.
One of the main issues I see in the queer community is that it is “whitewashed.” What I mean by that is that when you see representation of queer folks it tends to be cis white able bodied queer folks.
Why are we not lifting up the voices of black and brown queer folks? Trans and non-binary folks? Folks who are differently abled? Fat folks?
Even just looking around at all of the queer organizations here in Louisville they are mostly cis white folks and we have to change that. When we don’t make space for everyone at the table then we are being complicit with systemic racism. I would like to see organizations putting other folks in leadership positions and actively ensuring that they are representing EVERYONE in the queer community.
I may not personally feel excluded, but if there is no room in an organization or community for my queer friends and family to feel comfortable, then it’s not the space for me and I feel that the “mainstream” queer community again is very cis white and able bodied.