Coming out was not my easiest task. You live with fear that you’ll lose it all. Being a lesbian is an identity I carry that has administered me strength. When I first came out, I lost two of my closest friends but I carried on. Wearing my identity on the outside, I often get the looks, stares, and even those bold enough to ask questions. I enjoy being able to empower others who may need the courage to come out or simply admire how I carry myself freely. My sexuality has taught me that everyone I truly surround myself with genuinely cares and has unconditional love for me.
Being gay has shaped my life in a multitude of ways. It has affected the dynamics of my relationships with the people I love, the way I perceive myself, the way society perceives me, and the state of my mental health. Some people make it a habit to not let their sexuality define their lives however, that option is not always viable when sexuality is such a polarizing topic within our current political and social climate. I often find myself “suppressing” my homosexuality in some situations to avoid ridicule or even the threat of violence. This sense of feeling unsafe leads me to making decisions based on pure survival instead of actual need or want. While these hardships ring true, I would never, everdesire to be “straight.” Over the years, I have grown to love and embody my sexuality with pride. While I might not let it define me, it is a part of me that makes me who I am, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Being gay is okay, and I will live this way until the day I die.
Queerness itself refers to just being generally apart of the LGBT community, regardless of belonging of a specific part of it. Personally, I identify as bicurious or bisexual. Initially I didn’t think of myself as a part of the LGBT community as a child until around my 11th or 12th grade year when I met a few people who legitimately made me question my sexuality. The process of coming out wasn’t extremely odd or difficult, it was more so redefining my sexuality to myself and accepting that as a norm for me, that it was okay to not necessarily be attracted to one specific gender, but to find comfort within the spectrum of gender’s fluidity.
I realized my attraction to guys and girls
from a young age but it was something I pushed away in my mind because it wasn’t the norm. As I got older it became more prevalent but I still was in denial about it. Using words like bicurious and calling it phase. After having more experiences and further embracing myself I realized it was a part of me that I needed to accept but was always hard especially since I am aromatic towards women. Once I accepted I was attracted to girls I didn’t feel bi enough because I couldn’t envision myself falling in love with a women. This also kept me from accepting the label because I just felt like I wasn’t allowed to use it. Now I fully understand that there is a spectrum and I am deserving of living my truth.
Creative Director: Thomas Edge
Photographer: Thomas Edge
Stylist: Thomas Edge
Models: Saeed Phillips, Pamela Grissett, Barbara Walcot-Ceesay, Matthew Stafford