Growing Up Queer & Coming Out

I wasn’t someone who has known they were gay since they were five. I started questioning my sexuality when I was in middle school, but even then I pushed the thoughts out of my mind, and just “knew I was straight.” Looking back on younger me, I’m giving her the biggest eye roll ever.

I remember the first time I ever heard about gay people. I was watching the TLC show Bringing Home Baby, and I was around 4 or 5 years old. There was a lesbian couple on this episode and one of them was pregnant through IVF. I can vividly remember one woman saying, ” I am so happy I married my best friend.” Immediately a light bulb went off in my head, I can marry a girl? Technically you couldn’t “legally” get married then, but that’s beside the point.  I made a life plan (at five years old) to marry a girl (since all my best friends were girls) if I “couldn’t find” a boy to marry.

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Now this should have been a huge alarm going off that I was gay. But even when I thought about it at twelve or thirteen, I made excuses about how “it was normal for little kids to want to marry their best friends.” Fast forward my spring semester of freshman year, and my fall semester of sophomore year, all I could think about was the possibility of being a lesbian. I accepted that I was in fact gay in late summer/early fall of 2015, and then came out to my parents and sister on October 25, 2015.

I knew my parents weren’t going to care, and would love me anyway, but I was terrified. Both my parents are pretty liberal, so I knew I shouldn’t be worried, but we are a very religious family. My dad went to seminary and was a preacher for most of my childhood, and my mom’s father was also a preacher. I had heard so may horror stories of kids getting kicked out because they came out to their religious parents I began to wonder, what if that happens to me?

I felt sick to my stomach every time I would see my parents when I hadn’t come out yet. I wanted to do it really casually, because I don’t think me being gay should be a big deal, but that’s not what happened. I ended up saying to my mom, “I need to tell you something,”  and then sitting there shaking and crying in utter fear for ten minutes before I spoke again. This was exactly how I did not want to do it, but in the long run it doesn’t really matter.

Coming out has made me feel so much more free. It’s only been a little over a year since I told my parents, and i already feel so much more comfortable with myself. The best decision I made when pertaining to telling my parents – or anyone for that matter, was waiting until I had fully executed myself. I think that if I had come out when I was still questioning my sexuality, and didn’t know if I was bisexual or gay or something else, it would have been a lot harder. If I could give someone one piece of advice when coming out as anything, it would be to accept yourself first, and to be open with your feelings. The second part isn’t something that comes naturally to me. I’m someone who keeps most things to myself, but I think when coming out it’s important to be open and honest.

This is my coming out story, in all it’s glory. It may not be that exciting ,or dramatic, or interesting, but it’s a major event in my life. If you’re in the LGBTQIAP+ community let me know what one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to come out. If you need anything, or just someone to talk to, you can contact me through my contact page, or at the email queerly.texan@gmail.com.

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

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Feminism and Identity

TW: brief suicide mention, stalking

 

I identify as a feminist, an intersectional feminists to be exact. Until a few years ago I was taught to believe that the feminist movement only consisting of “man hating” women. That couldn’t be more incorrect.

For me, I identify as a feminist because I believe in the equality of all genders. It doesn’t matter is your a man, a woman, or non-binary, everyone deserves respect and equal rights. I’ve got to say I have a really hard time understanding how anyone could not identify as a feminist. I know a lot of people believe in the values of feminism but are too scared to take on the label due to its stigma. My response to that? Cowards don’t get things done. Cowards don’t lead movements, and cowards don’t change the world. Sure there are going to be some people who will role their eyes, and try to invalidate your experiences, but they are simply the problem and not the answer.

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This past summer I went to San Antonio for a funeral. If you’ve been to San Antonio or live there, then you know the Riverwalk is a big deal. I lived in San Antonio for a long time so I have been many times, but since I moved away it had been a while since I visited. I was alone with my mom, and we were leisurely walking down the riverwalk, looking at the restaurants and stores. I noticed a man following us, and he was acting odd. We both started to get nervous so we stopped to take a picture, in hopes we would get ahead of us, but he stopped too. It was then that we could see he was taking pictures of me. I felt completely violated, and disgusted. We went in some shops and tried to lose him but he continued to stalk us and showed up where we were later, so we left.

This is one out of a million reasons why we need feminism. I am not some object you can exploit, and masturbate to later. Not to mention I’m a minor, which in my opinion makes the whole situation 1000% creepier. This isn’t the only time I’ve felt disgusted or violated because someone tried to sexualize me while I was going about daily life. I am an average looking girl, I am very short, fatter than I’d like, and have a flat chest, and a small butt. My body type isn’t one I’d  expect people to go out of their way to look at, so I know girls who have a larger chest, wide hips, or a big butt have probably experienced this much more often than I have. I also know this experience is mild, and so many people in this world have had to go through much worse.  If anyone has treated you like this, I am deeply sorry.

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Feminism is also for men. We need to crush the idea that men have to be hyper masculine, or emotionless. Men are more likely to commit completed suicide, and I believe that societies standard of men having to “be tough” and not show their feelings contributes to this. If you’re hurting inside, you should be able to share what you’re going through without others telling you to “suck it up.” Men shouldn’t be used for money, and expected to bring in more income than any other party in their household solely based off their gender. Some men are disabled and can’t work, and that’s okay. Others are happy being stay-at-home dad’s, and I think that should be normalized.

Feminism is 150% for non-binary and trans people. ALL genders should be respected and have equal rights. Everyone deserves to go to the bathroom they’re comfortable in, and should be respected by the correct pronouns being used. I am cisgender so I have not experienced the hardships of being trans, but I am here to validate anyones experience of gender inequality. Your passport, and driver’s license shouldn’t state a gender that you don’t identify with. I hope our world will shift to better respecting others gender identities.

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And finally, of course feminism is for women, all women. Feminism is for women who work 24/7, and stay at home moms. You deserve to be treated as an equal to men, and you should have the right to get your opinions and ideas heard. I want my children to grow up in a world where women are presidents, and CEO’s, and doctors, and lawyers. I want all girls to know they CAN do anything they put their mind to, and they ARE capable of doing anything a man can do. Living in America, I’m pretty lucky. I get to go to school, and I can achieve my dreams of going to college due to my economic status. Girls in other countries often aren’t allowed to go to school, and many people here in America can’t afford to go to college.

I hope if you began reading this article by rolling your eyes, that you see at least one aspect of feminism a little bit differently now. And if you started off this article by thinking “Yay, I love feminism!,” I hope you found my take on this interesting and insightful. In the end I think feminism is all about loving and respecting all people, but hey that’s just me.

– Alyssa

 

LGBTQ+ Representation in Music

I love listening to music from queer artists because I feel a deeper connection to the lyrics. Music is universal, and while you can always switch the pronouns out in a song, it’s a whole different experience to listen to queer artists sing about the same experiences and feelings I have. Here are 5 queer artists I enjoy; I hope you’ll like them as well.

  1. Tegan and Sara
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I may or may not be completely obsessed with Tegan and Sara. I saw them in concert in September of 2016, and they were amazing. My all time favorite song is their song , Where Does the Good Go from their album “So Jealous.” I’m not the type to get obsessed with celebrities or have big celebrity crushes, but they are the exception. I mean come on, just look at them, they’re super attractive, and they’re so funny. From what they put out into the world, they seem like good people, and they’re pretty cool.

2. Hayley Kiyoko

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Hayley Kiyoko is best known for her song Girls like Girls, which is super catchy and is something every queer girl can connect to. Earlier this year she released a new album called Citrine , which was a great follow up to Girls like Girls. My favorite songs off that album are Gravel to Tempo, and Pretty Girl.

3. Shura

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Shura is an incredibly talented artist who sings synth pop music. She opened for Tegan and Sara at the concert I went to and is also really good live. My favorite songs off her album “Nothing’s Real,” are Touch, Indecision, and What’s it Gonna Be? She also actively posts on twitter an sis hilarious, especially if you imagine reading all her tweets in her British accent.

4. Mary Lambert

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Her song Secrets was really popular in 2014-2015, and she sings Same Love along with Macklemore. She also recently did a cover of Rise by Katy Perry along with Superfruit, which gave me goose bumps.

5. Adult Mom

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I just started listening to Adult Mom, and they’re great! I love their eclectic sound, and the twang in their voice. The lead singer , Stephanie Knipe (pictured above) identifies as non-binary. Adult Mom is different from most of the music I listen to, and I really like that.

 

Let me know who some of your favorite LGBT artist are below. I’m always looking for more queer artist to support!

– Alyssa

Do I Need a Label?

When I first started questioning my sexuality I read the definitions of different sexualities up, down and backwards, I listened to other people describe what the label they choose meant to them, and I was determined to figure out who I was, and what label worked for me. I like labels. They give order to the huge spectrum that is sexuality, but they can also be restrictive.

I identify as a lesbian, gay, or queer. I prefer the term gay but I use all three to describe myself. Not everyone identifies with one particular sexuality, and that’s okay. My personal sexual identity isn’t super fluid, but for other people it changes a lot. I believe people can be bisexual for one period in their life, and gay for another, or any other combination of sexualities. When I first came out I only felt comfortable using the term Lesbian. When I said ” I am gay,” I felt dirty and wrong, due to internalized homophobia. Now that I’ve accepted myself I love using the term gay and I wear it proudly.

Choosing to not label your sexuality is a perfectly valid choice. However I personally feel power in labels. I feel a connection towards other people who are LGBT, it unites us in some way. Our narratives may not be the same, but we are a minority of the same type and I feel a familial presence in that. Being gay is something my straight friends, family members, and acquaintances will never be able to fully understand.

I live in Texas, (hint the blog name), so close-minded people who don’t understand minorities are never more than a few feet away. Using labels helps them at least understand slightly who I am. Now if I were pansexual or demisexual or any other lesser known sexuality then my label would go right over their heads.

Label yourself with whatever makes you happy, and if that is choosing not to use labels then so be it.

– Alyssa

 

 

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It’s Okay to be a Stereotype

It’s okay to be a stereotype.

It’s okay to be a masculine lesbian, who never wants to wear make up and keeps their hair short. It’s okay to be an effeminate gay guy, who paints his nails, and has a high pitched voice.

Being a stereotype doesn’t make you less original or “basic.” If you fit a stereotype for your sexuality or gender that isn’t always a bad thing. There are stereotypes for a reason. However it isn’t okay to put someone in a category based off their gender, sexuality, race, or religion. Don’t let heterosexual people tell you that you’re “too gay” or “too feminine” or “too masculine,” because there is no such thing.

On the contrary it’s okay to not fit stereotypes. If you’re a super feminine gay girl or a super masculine gay guy that’s cool too! The most important thing is to be true to yourself, and live an authentic life. Don’t let others dictate your personality or gender expression because it makes them uncomfortable or doesn’t fit their definitions of what you should be.

I think the most beautiful part about life is that we’re all different, and we should embrace that. We come from different cultures, families, and religions, but the thing that connects everyone is that we’re all human just trying to figure life out.

I’m defiantly more feminine than the stereotypical lesbian. I wear makeup, and on special occasions or to church I’ll wear a dress, but I can have a more masculine side as well. I’m outspoken and opinionated which are traits that aren’t often aligned with women. All my life I’ve been taught by society to be quiet; seen and not heard. That a man’s opinion has more weight than mine, and I should be of service to any male that asks something of me. I was quite young when I decided that the patriarchal life wasn’t for me. I’m going to be as opinionated, and obnoxious as I want, because being anything else would mean I’m not being true to myself.

I think one of the most important things I’ve learned in life is to be me ,without caring about outside opinions. Be who you authentically are, and don’t care about others opinions.

Lots of love,

Alyssa

 

LGBTQ+ Youtubers

LGBTQ+ representation in the mainstream media isn’t always that great, but youtube is one place where queer people really dominate. Here are ten of my favorite LGBT youtubers!

  1. Shannon Beveridge or nowthisisliving
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Shannon’s youtube channel nowthisisliving has always been one of my favorites. She is a lesbian youtuber who does everything from challenge videos to Q&A’s and is an upbeat person who will always put you in a good mood – and she’s gorgeous so that never hurts 🙂

2. Kaitlyn Alexander or Realistically Saying

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Kaitlyn is a non-binary Youtuber who is a song writer, poet, actor, and comedian. They are also in the web series “Carmilla” on KindaTV’s Youtube channel and play the non-binary character LaFontaine. They’re super funny and also create thought provoking content that I think most people will enjoy.

3. Alayna Fender

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Alayna is a bisexual youtuber who makes sexual education videos, vlogs, and has a hilarious series called “I Don’t Bi It” that comically brings to light the stigma behind bisexuality.

4. Nick Camryn

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Nick is a transgender guy who makes great content talking about his experience being trans, and also does Q&A’s, and reaction videos.

5. Ari Fitz

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Ari Fitz is an amazing lesbian youtuber who creates artsy videos, as well as vlogs. She also has a channel called Tomboyish where she shows off her androgynous style, and teaches you how to dress is a stylish, masculine manner. She’s super creative and fun to watch!

6. Ash Hardell

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Ash is a pansexual non-binary youtuber who creates educational content for the LGBTQ+ community. She recently got married to her wife Grace, who sometimes joins her on her side channel onetakeashley. She also wrote a book called ” The ABC’s of LGBT” that coincides with a series on her channel with the same name. If you’re new to the LGBT community or want to know more about gender and sexuality, you should defiantly follow her.

7. Ebony & Denise or Oliviahas2moms

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Ebony and Denise are a lesbian couple who have a beautiful daughter named Olivia, and *spoiler alert* twin boys on the way. Ebony and Denise vlog about their daily life, their  TTC journey, and have also vlogged both of their pregnancies. I have enjoyed watching their family grow over the years; they are such a cute family!

8. Chandler N Wilson

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Chandler is an agender  youtuber who creates educational LGBT content as well as vlogs.  Chandler is incredibly smart and articulate, and has taught me a lot about the trans community.

9. Amanda McKenna or AmandasChronciles

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Amanda is a lesbian youtuber who makes videos that are super creative. She’s hilarious and has really interesting content ideas, that always turn out well. Some of her videos include coming out to strangers, bathing in TruMoo, and dying her leg hair different colors. She always puts a smile on my face and someone who I could just listen to talk for hours.

10. Scott Hoying & Mitch Grassi or Superfruit

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Scott and Mitch are 2/5 of the spectacular a cappella  group Pentatonix. They are both gay and make videos about LGBT topics, do Q&A’s, and have recently released some music together. They’re both really funny, especially Mitch, and have insane talent.

 

These are just a few of my favorites, but there are many more I like. I am a white, cisgender,  gay girl so these youtubers may reflect that. I tried to make the list diverse in race, sexuality, and gender, while also staying true to the youtubers I thoroughly enjoy.  Leave a comment below with your favorite queer youtubers!