1. How do you identify your gender or sexuality?
I am nonbinary/genderqueer.
2. What does identifying this way mean to you? Are these labels a core part of your identity, or are they incidental to who you are?
I went through a long period of wanting a very specific label that matched my identity to a tee, for both gender and sexuality. My gender is incredibly fluid and the way I present changes constantly, which is why it’s such a huge part of my identity and the way I see myself.
3. What do you enjoy about being a part of the queer community? What positive experiences have you had as a result of identifying this way? How have you come to understand yourself better through the way you have labeled (or not labeled) yourself?
My gender tends to lead to a lot of frustration, and it has largely shaped my core identity and how I see myself through the eyes of others. I grew up in Texas, which isn’t particularly a great place to be queer, but finding the community there was amazing in itself because while it is small, it’s an incredibly tight-knit and fiercely protective family. Moving to Boston and seeing the freedom and openness of the community here has been amazing.
4. What hardships have you encountered due to being a part of the queer community? How have these hardships impacted who you are as a person or how you identify?
I could go on for paragraphs concerning hardships, both external and internal. I think something that is particularly difficult for me isn’t just the bigotry from this country and its society, but also the confusion and hostility that I face within my own religious and cultural community. This hardship alone has impacted more than just my identity, but also my relationship with my own culture and my religious beliefs.
5. Do you label yourself differently in different situations/with different people? With yourself?
At this point in my life, I identify with the more umbrella label of “queer” all around. When people ask me about my sexuality, I just say I’m bi. When it comes to gender, I don’t correct people who make assumptions unless they specifically ask about my pronouns or if my friends say something. It is an uncomfortable situation for me when it comes to correcting pronouns and gender, and I prefer to just stick it out for my own sake.
6. What is the facet of your identity that you identify with most strongly apart from being queer? What would you want someone else to know about you before they judged you?
I am an artist.
7. If you could say one thing to your younger self, what would it be?
You will grow strong.
8. If you could say one thing to queer youth experiencing similar hardships to you, what would it be?
It takes time for everyone to find their own way. This is just the beginning.
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