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🌈Q&A (No. 9)

Q1: What is your earliest memory of realizing your sexuality/gender identity? What was that like?

A: I realized my sexual identity at the age of 16. Before I recognized that I was possibly queer, I identified as straight. I had a boyfriend and everything and was completely comfortable with our relationship. I was always a strong ally for the LGBTQ until I realized that I may actually be a part of it. This realization came when I noticed myself falling for one of my friends who was a girl. Whenever we would spend time together, we would end up flirting with each other and whenever she would touch me, it would literally feel like electricity running through my body. It was a feeling I couldn't deny even if I wanted to. The same butterflies I felt when my boyfriend was around existed in my stomach with her. And that's how I knew I had the capacity to love more than just one gender.

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: I think because I was such a strong ally of the community before coming into my own sexuality, I didn't have a problem accepting myself as a queer. This is because for me, I always knew the feeling was innate. I could never feel shame for feelings that naturally arise in me because that's the essence of who I truly am and I love myself wholly. All parts. Even at the young age of 16, I had this mindset. My problem came with the fear of other people accepting me (mainly my family.)

I would tell my younger self to not carry the burden of worrying how my loved ones will view me. That their expectations of me have nothing to do with who I truly am, and they will love me regardless of who I turn out to be or choose to love. Even if they have to grieve the picture of my future that they once held for me, I make space for that while also standing firm in who I am. I would encourage others to do the same. Your life absolutely and completely belongs to you and how you chose to move through this life matters. It isn't easy to exist in this community with all of the hate, danger, and non-acceptance that threatens us every day. But if you first choose to accept and love yourself wholly and unconditionally, then that makes room for others in your life to do the same.

5. 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?

A: Initially, I just began to live in my truth. I would bring my woman partners around and be romantic with them and most of my family and friends understood what that meant for me. After a while, I was sort of forced to come out to certain family members in a more formal fashion because of their old school nature and beliefs and they felt like they didn't understand what was going on in my life and that it warranted a more intentional conversation. I gave them this and it helped in their process of coming to understand and accept my sexuality.

All in all, I don't necessarily believe in the idea of “coming out.” To me, there was nothing to ever come out of. I wasn’t and have never been ashamed of who I am so for me, this metaphorical closet didn't exist. I just expected those I loved to understand by who I chose to be romantically involved with. I realize for some people this closet does exist because of their environment and the gender and societal expectations set on them forces them to hide this part of themselves out

of the need for safety and acceptance. In my dream world, I envision the need to “come out” becoming obsolete due to the normalization of being queer and straightness no longer being the default. In my dream world, heteronormativity no longer exists and thus the metaphorical closet disappears for us all. No more need to hide ourselves.

Q7: Has religion/spirituality had any kind of effect 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: Absolutely. From the ages of 5 - 18 I was enrolled in Christian schools. One Baptist and one Catholic. Religion and Christianity raised me and I was completely entrenched in the ideas, rituals, and beliefs of the practice. This includes, frankly, the belief that gay people would “go to hell” and that homosexuality was not “right” in the eyes of God. But also, that because Jesus is loving and forgiving and we all have the capacity to sin, He doesn't love gay people any less and that they shouldn't be treated differently.

This belief system followed me even after I came into my own relationship with queerness and started to discover my identity. I figured that I would live my life how it feels best, and repent for my sins when it was time for judgment day. At the end of the day, I couldn't change who I was.

I started to move away from religion and this belief system around my sophomore year in college when I entered a relationship with a woman that I 100% and truly believe that God sent for me. Our relationship came on the heels of me exiting an abusive partnership that I was in with someone else and the love this woman had for me was healing and pure. It was as if God was personally sending His love for me through her so that it was tangible, and I could feel it. Our relationship was anointed. I knew then that everything I had learned about our love being a

sin was false. This awakening was so visceral, and this truth registered so deep in my bones that all of the conditioning and indoctrination from my past fell away. And from that point on, my relationship with God was the strongest it had ever been.

This marked my journey into Spirituality. Queerness and love have shifted my view of God in a way that is more interpersonal, relationship, and intuition centered rather than beliefs, commandments, and tradition based. Queerness gifted me a relationship with God that was deeper than I could have ever imagined. I realized that God exists within me. The creator handcrafted everything about my being and my journey on this earth and nothing about that is wrong or condemned. Because if he created it, how could it be wrong? If God put this kind of love in my life, what about it could possibly be a sin? This has shaped my Spiritual journey thus far.

Q15: What do you identify as? Have you always identified as ___? What led you to identify in that


A: I currently identify as queer. To me, queer is an umbrella term that identifies a person as not cishet and who is out of the societal standard of “ordinary.” This aligns with me because my sexuality cannot and won't be so clearly pinpointed and defined. I have the capacity to love anyone of all genders, as long as their heart, mind, and soul speak to mine. This is how I’ve always seen myself.

*Sometimes I do identify as lesbian when I’m not in a season of entertaining cishet men (lmao)*

Q16: What do you think your younger self would have to say/think about who you are today?

A: My younger self would undoubtedly be so proud of how far I have come. I used to be so concerned about how other people viewed me and being a people pleaser to my family, making sure I perfectly fit the “good girl” image and not straying away from the expectations they hold for me. My younger self would think present me is cool af, not being concerned with others perceptions and encouraging others to do the same by just being me and living in my truth. This

is something I always used to dream of for myself and having the pleasure to live in it confidently every day is very surreal.

"..and this truth registered so deep in my bones that all of the conditioning and indoctrination from my past fell away. And from that point on, my relationship with God was the strongest it had ever been."

- Jas W., She/Her/Hers, Queer

IG: st.jas

TikTok: st.jas

Twitter: saintjasss


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