I'm non-binary and queer. Most people would consider me "femme" but I don't subscribe to that. I think of my body as something separate from my inner world...which, on a good day, is basically just a gaseous cosmic cloud full of positivity, love, and compassion. I present as female, but inside...I don't define. In fact, I refuse to define because I want to live as organically, as freely, as possible. Labels tend to hamper that.
But it's different for everyone. Everyone has their own relationship to their body and to their sexuality. Humans tend to desire definition...but personally, I'm just glad that I no longer feel alone. I grew up in an ultra Christian household...I grew up thinking I was wrong, or broken, or fucked up. Over the years, though, I found people who felt just like me...and we helped each other heal past traumas and embrace our true selves. This is something to celebrate. And that's what National Coming Out Day is about for me.
they're doing the work to make sure our voices are heard, that our bodies are seen, and that our rights are protected.
I actually haven't come out to my father, and he's the only person in my blood family that I'm in contact with. And I don't think I ever will tell him. I've casually mentioned the support I've received from the queer community...he knows that most of my friends are queer, gay, trans, and the like. But I've never felt like he would understand where I was coming from, or why it's so important that he knows. We're very close and it's sad that he'll never recognize that part of me...because I do think that it's integral to how I see the world, what I like to do, and who I like to surround myself with. I also hope that maybe he'd change his rigid ideas of my community, if he knew about it. But today I can be glad that although my father may never see me completely, I've been able to come out to my friends...and was met with only love and understanding. I'm so thankful and grateful to my chosen family.
So, for National Coming Out Day I wanted to revisit some of the past interviews I've done with members of the queer community who have really inspired myself and countless others. They're part of a global web of connectivity; they're doing the work to make sure our voices are heard, that our bodies are seen, and that our rights are protected. With visibility, communication, and education, LGBTQIA+ issues have covered some serious ground in contemporary mainstream society...and although there is still so much work to do, in many places we're leaps and bounds from where we were before. It's a trajectory that I hope continues.
Be kinky. Wear it proudly. It doesn't give people the right to take advantage of you or shame you. Its ok to like what you like.
Like myself, and many others, Tina Lugo had been in some seriously damaging relationships before realizing how to have healthy partnerships, and how to set boundaries. "I was sexually abused by partners in the past, some of whom tried to play it off as a Dom/Sub relationship. I soon realized that this is very common, and it was important to me to make sure that people knew that there always should be consent in whatever you choose to do. I also felt weird because I found some kinks really appealing, and how was I going to explain that I liked being choked or spanked without people suddenly victim blaming me? I was conflicted. But it fueled me to be more open about my sexuality and that was important to my emotional health and well being. Be kinky. Wear it proudly. It doesn't give people the right to take advantage of you or shame you. Its ok to like what you like."
I desire to build a different and liberated reality...
Violence and trauma go hand in hand...and it’s not only physical. Emotional and philosophical boundaries are crossed every day. Noelle Longhaul spoke about it in our interview last year. “The support that marginal people are receiving culturally at the moment pales in the ever-mounting violence, aggression, and rejection directed at us. Much of the support is symbolic; individuals and institutions taking on stances of support as a way to be on the right side of social conflict...I am not interested in acceptance: I’m interested in power. I want trans people and other oppressed identities to have access to real resources, and for the building of those resources to create a material network of support and solidarity. I do not desire for a society built on the destruction of the cultures and bodies of queer people, Indiginous people and non-European people to understand me: I desire to build a different and liberated reality, not to be accepted and folded into the one responsible for the destruction of communities, of magic, and of the planet.”
I’m sorry, I’m scared too, and I don’t have the answers, but here I am and you’re not alone.
It’s this desire to create a different reality that many artists feel akin to. Nomi Chi described their artwork as a way to build bridges of emotional support. “I’m subconsciously saying to my other freaks: I’m sorry, I’m scared too, and I don’t have the answers, but here I am and you’re not alone.” James Lauder shares similar thoughts, “ I think for people who like my work maybe it's because it reflects or allows them the space to express their own ideas around queerness and gender.”
For National Coming Out Day hopefully you can celebrate it in a way that resonates deeply with you. Maybe call your chosen family and let them know how much they mean to you. Maybe hit up your parents and thank them for being supportive. Or simply just stand in the mirror and celebrate you being the beautiful, powerful, magical person you are. I hope today is a moment where we can reflect with love towards ourselves, towards others, and to feel inspired to work towards a world where so many people can express the same with freedom.