Q1: What is your earliest memory of realizing your sexuality/gender identity? What was that like?
A: As a little girl I knew it was expected of me to identify as a female and to be with a male. Although, the earliest memory I have of giving myself the opportunity to explore other avenues of sexuality identity was ninth grade year of high school. Everything before that time period I denied myself of diving deep and exploring my sexuality. I’ve always identified with my feminine nature but around this time started to embrace the masculine energy I felt. When I did grant myself that pleasure, I felt guilty because I grew up in a heavily Christian household. Early on I had a lot of internal homophobia I had to work through within myself. Even though people had been calling me gay ever since I picked up a basketball, I did not all the way relate to the LGBTQ+ community. All in all, it was very confusing and conversations about my sexuality evoked a lot of emotional turmoil for me.
Q2: What is something you wish someone would’ve done for or said to you during your earlier years of finding/accepting yourself? What is something YOU would tell your younger self or others?
A: That although I was surrounded by older people and grown-ups who pressured me into boxes, that no one truly has this life thing figured all the way out. There are no clear-cut ways of how to live your life, bc if there were there would not be multiple religions or multi philosophies or multiple theories. That no matter how old we are, we are all figuring this out together. As long as I am moving with love and intention to grant myself grace of my actions, I can grow in peace which will allow me to discover myself. Which is all life is about, not to constantly try to deem every thought and emotion we have as good or bad but to just experience them. There are parts of the soul that the mind will never understand.
Q3: What was it like for you to accept yourself? Was acceptance of yourself contingent upon the acceptance from peers/loved ones?
A: To be honest, I am still learning to accept myself for all that I am still til this day. I say this because I am still discovering more about myself so there is always more to accept. Although I can definitely say that growing up, I craved the acceptance from others, to be able to fit in with any and everyone. Accepting myself was not the most comfortable thing to do at first, this is where the internal homophobia came into play, but it felt in alignment to my growth. Q4: How did you come to understand your identity? Are there some things you do still don’t understand about yourself or others within the LGBTQ+ community?
A: What I came to understand now is that nothing you identify with encompasses all that you are, because the essence of who I am is limitless. There will never be a box for me to fit in because the box itself is an illusion. There are still some things I do not understand about how gender in relation to feminine and masculine energy connect to the soul itself. Simply because I’ve never questioned my feminine nature, so I would like to explore other people’s perspectives within the LGBTQ+ community. Q5: Did you come out or did you just start living in your truth? Do you feel like coming out is necessary/required? Why or why not?
This is a funny question, because although I’m sitting here answering these questions I’ve never sat my folks down and told them my sexual preferences. I just started living in my truth, taking things day by day and realized that sitting them down to tell them my sexual preferences is not necessary. For one I’m pretty sure they knew I liked the same sex before I knew lol, so I don’t think coming out is required. I can say that my mom allowed me to embrace my identity to an extent, because I was never told I couldn’t wear something bc it made me look too masculine or anything like that. I believe everyone’s relationship with their parent’s is different. Although I would enjoy my partner and my family to be able to love each other and get along, so I think it is important to let them know when I am in deep with someone and I’m considering bringing them home. On the other hand, I am not forcing anything on anyone. If you love me, you love me for all that I am, and if you don’t you don’t. If coming out to your parents would put you in a bad situation, lead to abuse, or force you being kicked out, I personally would recommend you just wait til you’re out their house. I know that sounds like someone asking you to hide your truth, but looking at the grand scheme of things, your sexual preferences are not all that important. Your truth is your truth, not everyone is going to understand and that’s okay. Q6: Do you feel like your sexuality/gender identity is apart of who you are or a part of you that you can grow “in and out of”?
A: Yes, I do feel like you can “grow out” of your sexual identity, buttt that’s not the case with me. I grant everyone the grace of change, that’s the only thing promised in this world is change. Like I said before we will forever be discovering ourselves and it is definitely possible for someone’s sexual preferences to change down the line. Although when loving the same sex, you have to have rebellion in your blood, and that you will never grow out of. I believe society would prefer people to grow out of being gay for their own comfort, but that expectation is disingenuous.
Q7: Has religion/spirituality had any kind of affect on your journey to accepting yourself (good or bad)? If so, how does that affect your view and/or practice of religion/spirituality today?
A: Religion and spirituality has had an enormous affect on my journey to accepting myself. Being that I come from a very religious family, a lot of my moral compass growing up stemmed from the Bible. Now I wouldn’t deem it as good or bad, but I would say I’ve had my ups and downs with Christianity itself and I no longer consider myself a Christian. Through all of my ups and downs with religion, I’ve never felt without God and my relationship with God has only strengthened along the way. Just how I view God has shifted throughout the years and has became more personal for me. It took me researching the religion I had been following all my life to really understand that a lot Christians misinterpret the Bible for their own benefit. The world itself tends to demonize what we do not understand. The original Latin definition of the word “sin” means to miss the mark…to miss the point of something. So we are born into sin because we are born into misunderstanding of life itself, and we spend our lives trying to remember our purpose of being here in the first place. For awhile I identified with being “spiritual” but soon realized that was only echoing what I am. Being spiritual is not a choice for any of us because we are spirit in human form. Overall, the time I took to conduct my own research and the spiritual practices I developed for my own peace of mind lead me to accepting myself even more so.
Q8: What do you see for yourself in the future? Does the current state of the world have any affect on that vision?
A: For my future I definitely see multiple phases of life, but eventually I know I’m going to be led to working with the kids because they are the future. Creating spaces for them to embrace theirselves fully and skip over the turmoil that we had to experience as a generation. So that as a people we can stop focusing on evolving emotionally, mentally, and physically instead being stuck in a state of criticizing each other. The current state of the world has a huge effect of my view of the future, but simply because the present moment is all we truly have to experience. How we view and feel towards the present moment creates the future so every day I try to see the best in any and everything.
Q9: As someone who identifies as ____, what do you wish heterosexual/cisgendered people were more considerate of/knowledgeable about?
A: As someone who identifies as a bisexual woman, I wish heterosexual people were more knowledgeable about nature itself. It’s not like homosexuality cannot be observed in nature, it’s not like it just came about. We have lived on this Earth for way longer than 2000 years and people have been gay. Homophobia just came about, that’s the difference and that’s what’s new. So let’s get to understanding the root causes of homophobia. Q10: When people say they accept you, what are some green flags that indicate that they do? What are red flags that indicate that they don’t? When it comes to people showing support, what is your biggest pet peeve(s)?
A: Green flags for when I know people accept me is when they just allow space for me exist wholly. When there’s no unspoken but felt boundaries around my existence and who I can be. The red flags are variations of the direction of conversation, and even the way someone speaks to you, when there are unspoken boundaries of your existence. I can tell when I’ve crossed them when they become uncomfortable with me being me. When it comes to people showing support my biggest pet peeve is..don’t take me out of one box to put me into another. I don’t want anyone to ever think they have me figured out lol, just allow me to be limitless and enjoy the view.
Q11: How important do you think it is for people who “accept” you to be knowledgeable about your identity? Do you feel like language is important?
A: It’s not important to me for people who accept to be knowledgeable of my identity. I know that people struggle to accept what they don’t understand, but long as I know you’re at least trying to understand me I feel the love. I also know people can only accept you as much as they accept themselves and we’re all just reflections of each other, so I extend grace. Language over all is SO important, or etymology in general, and just looking up the original definitions of words. I personally don’t care about pronouns because you’re not going to make me uncomfortable, and in some languages, they don’t even use them. To conclude, the study of etymology puts into perspective how we got to this point in the first place.
"..people struggle to accept what they don’t understand, but long as I know you’re at least trying to understand me I feel the love."
- Brianna, She/Her/Hers, Bisexual Cisgendered Woman