National Coming Out Day 2017

Happy National Coming Out Day!

For those who do not know, National Coming Out Day began on October 11th, 1987 when half a million people marched on Washington for LGBT Rights. Since that day, October 11th has been used to celebrate coming out and being out. Many people also use this day to come out for the very first time, or come out to a new person/group.

I remember when national coming out day came around while I was still in the closet. I felt a sense of urgency to do it that day, but got nervous and waited some more. National Coming Out Day is not supposed to pressure anyone to come out when they’re not ready, so if you’re in the closet and don’t feel ready – don’t come out today! This day did give me a little nudge to bit the bullet and tell my parents. I think it was beneficial to me to have national coming out day take place during the time I was deciding when to come out.

Part of me feels like we shouldn’t have to “come out” per se. We should be able to just start seeing someone, or have it come up in conversation. A big dramatic “let’s sit down and cry moment” isn’t always necessary or wanted. If that is your experience, there isn’t anything wrong with that, coming out to my parents was mildly dramatic, but if that’s not the experience you want then it doesn’t have to be that way.

For me, being out is liberating and incredibly important. I always try to be the “out person” that I needed when I was questioning my sexuality. Being out for me can also be very political, especially right now. Having out role models is crucial for people in the closet. It’s also really important for everyone else to see that LGBTQIA+ people are not some far off distant idea, but rather are your neighbors, friends, colleagues, and family members.

I hope everyone has an incredible National Coming Out Day, and is able to celebrate being LGBTQIA+!

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My First Pride Experience 

This past weekend I went to Pride for the very first time!

On Saturday my sister and I went to the festival which consisted mostly of booths and they had a stage where different people performed. I got to see Alyssa Edwards ( a drag queen from Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 5) perform which was so cool! I’ve been wanting to see a drag performance for a while, but since I’m still a minor there aren’t any places near me that I could go to.

The festival was really fun, and it was cool to see a community of people being so unapologetic while living in a conservative state. We’re lucky that Dallas is one of the more progressive areas of Texas, but the state as a whole is still very conservative. Lots of great organizations like GLAAD, HRC, ACLU, and Equality Texas had booths, as well as some really cool queer owned companies!

Sunday was the parade, which is what I was most excited for. I was planning to just go with my sister, but last minute my parents decided they wanted to go too. To be completely honest I was a little apprehensive about having them come, because as open as they are, there are some things I thought they just wouldn’t understand. However, I was proved wrong and they had a great time!

It was SO hot on Sunday and right before the parade started I got really sick. My stomach began to hurt, my heart started racing, and I got that impending sense of doom that let me know I was going to pass out. Luckily there was a Walgreens just right there so I was able to stumble in and sit in the air conditioning for a few minutes, and got some Gatorade to try and bounce back. In around fifteen minutes I felt sooo much better and was able to enjoy the parade. It’s crazy how quickly things turn South for my body and how quickly they can bounce back!

Although a lot of the parade floats were catered more to gay and lesbian people, most of them celebrated the community as a whole. I saw a ton of trans pride stuff, and a decent amount of asexual pride stuff as well. Hopefully in the future Pride will become even more diverse, because everyone deserves to proud of who they are, especially when they aren’t one of the more well-known genders or sexualities.

I can’t wait to go to many more Pride events in the future. Next Pride I’ll be old enough to participate in a lot more, so that’s exciting. I feel so incredibly lucky to have such a supportive family. Maybe next year I’ll even have a good friend group I can go with!

Did you go to Pride? What was your first Pride experience like?

 

Bye-Bye Pride Month 2017

I can’t believe June is almost over! This summer is flying by already, before we know it’s going to be August and school will be in session again.

June was LGBTQIA+ pride month and so I did quite a few posts on the topic:

 

Pride month is coming to an end, but for the LGBTQ+ community, pride never stops. Sure there won’t be a parade, or rainbows and glitter plastered all over advertisements, but we continue to celebrate who we are all year long. My LGBT posts may slow down a bit, but they won’t stop.

I hope everyone had an amazing pride month, whether you were able to/chose to celebrate or not. This year I’m going to my very first Pride parade, but it doesn’t take place until September, so for me and many others Pride is not over. I’m really excited to spend a day being surrounded by lot of love, acceptance, and community.

Did you celebrate Pride?

Having a Political Identity

Once you come out as being part of the LGBTQIA+ community, society labels your sexuality as “political.”

Part of this is because sexuality and gender have always been seen as a political issues. Getting married, having children, going to the bathroom, and even just existing in public are political fights we’ve had over and over, and continue to have. We’ve been labeled “other” and our rights are not a given like our heterosexual and cisgender counterparts. Our rights are debated on stages and we’re often thought of as an issue on a ballot rather than human beings by homophobic and transphobic law makers.

Not long after coming out I remember having an a-ha moment. “People hate me because of my sexuality and I am now considered a minority.” In my privileged white-suburban-Christian-girl world, this took my brain for a tale-spin. I had never been hated for just existing before, and it didn’t feel good. The other thing that set in, especially after the 2016 election, was that my right’s could be taken away at any time no matter how unconstitutional or morally wrong that is.

Due to these reasons and a million more, I embrace society viewing my sexuality as political. I believe being an out LGBTQIA+ person is a form of resistance. While being LGBTQIA+ isn’t a choice, being out is (Most of the time.) I feel pride in actively resisting our cultures standards and beliefs by simply existing. Personally I live in a largely republican area in Texas, so I feel an even greater urge to exist as my queer self. I needed to see other people who were LGBTQIA+ just living life when I was younger, and now I want to be that for someone else. It truly humanizes the experience to see other queer people in public enjoying life and being care-free.

I no longer have the privilege of not being actively engaged in politics. Between being gay, being a woman, and being disabled, someones always trying to take away my rights. So I will continue to embrace my “political identity” and practice acts of queer resistance.

How do you practice queer resistance?

What do you think about having your identity politicized?

 

How To Be a Good Ally

Allies are great.

They help us fight for equality and often offer love and support as friends, family members, and significant others. Where do you start? Here’s how I think you can be a good ally:

  1. Listen – Listen to those in the LGBTQ+ community and don’t talk over us. Wait for your time to talk and recognize when your opinion isn’t needed. Let people tell you what they need, instead of assuming. Listen to how your friend/partner/family member feels and what they need from you. An open mind and listening ears goes a long way, especially when someone is trying to figure things out or has just come out.
  2. Educate- Educated yourself about the community, all of the community. Learn different sexualities, genders, and romantic identities. Learn about LGBTQ+ issues and stay up to date on news that involves the community. Try to educate others, especially when other people are saying bigoted things or using slurs.
  3.  Love- Everyone just wants to be loved. Respond to the LGBTQ+ people in your life with love even when you don’t understand what they’re going through. There’s no way you’ll be able to understand it all, but listening to them and loving them will make a huge difference.
  4.  Vote- Voting is one of the biggest ways, in my opinion, that you can help our community. Vote against discriminatory laws, and vote for people who are going to bring about positive change. Do not stand idly by while bigoted people try to attack our community, especially right now.
  5. Respect- Respect everyone’s identity. Use the correct pronouns and preferred name for everyone you meet. Respect that someone may not be open to talking about their sexuality or gender, or being queer in general.

 

What did I miss? How can someone be a good ally to you?

 

Self-Expression After Coming Out

A few months ago BuzzFeed released a video on how people’s style changed after coming out, and they had a group of people dress like their closeted selves for a day. Honestly I didn’t think other people had thought this through as much as I had.

Before I came out, and before I accepted my sexuality I was overtly feminine. I worse lots of skirts, dresses, jewelry, heavy makeup (ugh someone should had told me I looked terrible), and I had long hair. I never had a girly style before but I felt more pressure as I got older to trade in the messy bun and basketball shorts, for long curled hair and a mini-skirt. A lot of it was sub-conscious and I didn’t really realize what I was doing until years later.

I would see things I wanted to wear, but thought “no that’s too masculine.” In reality it wasn’t masculine at all, it just wasn’t nauseatingly feminine like I had made myself used to. After coming out something just switched. I wore whatever I wanted, which was usually still leaning towards feminine, but I felt more comfortable. I normally wear jeans, a shirt, and vans or clarks. So does sexuality affect style?

I would say yes and no. In some instances once people are comfortable with themselves and come out, then they feel they can dress how they’ve always wanted to. Like any culture or community there is a specific style that a lot of people follow. Some stereotypes are here for a reason, I mean a lot of lesbians do wear flannel, like a lot. I don’t think it’s bad thing though, unless you feel like you have to change the way you dress in order to be taken seriously or fit in.

My self-expression changed when I became comfortable with myself, and I think that’s true for a lot of people. When you spend months, years, or even decades being uncomfortable the second you stop feeling even a tiny percentage of that awkwardness, you never want to go back.

Did your style or general self-expression change after coming out?

What changed?

 

The Truth About Texas

Texas is the butt of many jokes, specifically about how conservative it is.

While it may be a red state, Texas isn’t always the hell it’s been made out to be.

I’ve lived half my life in South Texas – San Antonio, and the other half in North Texas – Dallas. I’ve always lived in the suburbs so my experience stems from that. Cities like Dallas, Austin, and Houston are all incredibly progressive and you’ll find more democrats than republicans there. San Antonio is a little different. There’s a heavy catholic influence so people tend to lean more conservative, but there re still more progressive people in the city than other places in Texas.

The high school I went to was predominately white, but also had a sizable asian population. While there was the occasional super republican kid who spit out all the bigoted phases they heard at home, most people were pretty chill. I came out to a few of my friends at the time, and while they were shocked, it wasn’t a big deal. There were LGBTQ+ kids who were out and dating and most people didn’t care or at least didn’t care enough to say anything.

You will see protesters outside planned parenthood or standing on an overpass with their open carried guns, but those kind of people are everywhere. Even in the most liberal areas in the US there are still conservative people. I think most people would be surprised how many progressive and moderate people live here.

My narrative may be different from someone who grew up in a small town. The small town conservative mentality reaches much farther than the South though. Being LGBTQ+ in Texas isn’t always the death sentence its made out to be. While I would never want to erase the struggles of people who have experienced abuse for being LGBT in Texas, I think it’s important for people to know that isn’t everyones narrative. There are happy LGBTQ+ people who live in the South and people who come from religious families who have positive coming out stories.

Do I daydream about living in San Fransisco where most people identify with being LGBTQIA+in some way or another? Yes of course, but for now i’m pretty happy right where I am. I want to see the Texas legislature be reformed and more sane people go into power. These past few weeks a lot of bigoted laws have been put into place, and that has to change. I don’t think running to leave Texas the first chance I get is going to help anyone, and for now I want to stick around and do my part to make Texas a place where everyone is respected and receives the equity they deserve.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa