So, are you gay?
Are you LGBT, undecided or other?
I'm the L part.
Do you think these categories are useful or oppressive?
Not hardly. If something exists, it's going to be called something. Words are made to describe and labels are just words. I don't think that having those words used to describe a particular aspect of who I am is any more oppressive than the labels designed to proclaim that I am a woman, I am a brunette, I am a 20-something, whatever. It's just describing one part of who I am. It doesn't bother me at all.
When did you first know you were gay?
When I was a little kid, I always played with the boys at recess and chased little girls. When I was nine, I was unnecessarily fascinated by Scary Spice. When I was 11, we had a sex ed demonstration in which 'gay' was described. I was just like, "Oh, that's what that is." but people at school were really mean about it. I prayed they would not say that I was gay and was actually relieved when they chose to call another girl in my class horrible names and shun her because they thought she was a lesbian. I feel really horrible about it now...because of that, though, I was convinced I could just NOT be gay if I chose. In eighth grade, I had a huge crush on a girl I played basketball with and repressed that as hard as I could. I dated guys through much of high school then finally, in my senior year, I just went ahead and admitted to myself that I couldn't change who I was or who I was attracted to.
Are you in or out of the closet?
I'm out to my family and friends completely. I don't go out of my way to tell people and tend to refer to my significant others in gender neutral terms when in mixed company. If someone comes right out and asks me though, I won't lie. It's really not in my best interest to broadcast the fact to the world around here though; Ashland, KY is not the most accepting community out there.
If it's the latter then how did you come out?
To my friends, I just told them. A few of them were surprised at first and said that after they really thought about it, they should have known. For my family, I actually performed in a production of "The Laramie Project" and talked about how important tolerance was to me with my family. We had a long discussion about it and then I told them this play really affected me a lot because I identify as a lesbian. My family said they'd known for a while. My mom told me not to let it be the one thing I choose to define myself, to just be myself and not worry about broadcasting it to the world or changing the way I am just because of one single, insignificant quality.
Also, how did people react and what changes took place in your life (if any) when you did come out?
Well, I do have a really good friend who's still convinced it's just a phase...like, four years after I came out. She's a very conservative Christian and refuses to believe that I'm gay.
What does being gay mean to you?
Basically it just means that I date girls and have no interest in anything beyond friendship with males. I just can't forge that kind of connection with them.
Do you 'wear' it?
Not really. I'm on the more feminine side of the spectrum and people tend to just think I'm artsy or something.
Do you fall into, break or try to avoid gay stereotypes?
I don't go out of my way to avoid any gay stereotypes, I just do what I want to do and like what I like. Apparently I'm into a lot of "lesbian music", but aside from that, I don't really seem to fit stereotypes.
How much does it define your personality?
It doesn't define my personality. It really just affects who I date.
Do you associate yourself with gay music and media like 'queercore'?
Not really. I listen to everything.
Do you have people you look up to in the LGBT community and if so, why?
A theatre director I work with in my area is openly gay and went to Mass. to be married a few years back. He is also a board member on the Human Right Commission in my area and does a lot for the community.
Have you ever encountered prejudice?
Yes, actually. While I was doing "The Laramie Project", area people were outraged by the show and were very militant anti-gay people about it. I was quoted in the newspaper and someone looked me up on myspace and sent very horrible messages to me. Additionally, Fred Phelps came to protest a Gay Straight Alliance in the area and he and his followers yelled at all of us supporting the group that we were going to Hell. That was lovely.