Inspirational, Out and Proud: Toni Le Busque – Stay Close to Your People and Maintain Your Dignity

This Inspirational, Out and Proud spotlight brought to you by the artist Toni Le Busque of Los Angeles, California.

Sexual Orientation

Queer, Gay, Homo, Lesbian, whatever…

Gender Identity and Pronouns

I honestly do not mind. Call me what you will. I find them all absurd.

When did you know?

Early, maybe 6, 7, or 8?

When did you come out?

I didn’t ever really come out. It was more like a booze-fueled evolution. I was a giant DRUNK so I would vomit up my secret when I was hammered

To whom did you come out first?

My friend Sarah.

How did your closest friends and family react?

My brother cried and I’m not sure why because he’s really not an uptight guy, or a homo-hater. Noone really cared at all. I was the one with the problem about it. It was a different time, some societies (mainstream I mean) were on the edge of more than fringe acceptance, but gays were still a topic of mockery. And of course there was AIDS and all lesbians looked like Martina and wore overalls, or so we thought, so there was that!

More intimate questions.

How has your life been enriched by the LGBTQ Community?

I am not a joiner, not the LGBT community, nor any other. But look at what the gays contribute in art, literature, fashion, hairdressing, comedy.

What are the common misconceptions about being LGBTQ?

That it’s all about the sex and nothing to do with love. That if you’re a gay man you want to fuck ALL the men, and that if you’re a lesbian you can be fixed by the right man!

Describe the first time someone else read you (for better or worse) as LGBTQ.

I don’t recall, but I get ‘sirred’ all the time. Used to bother me, but my other friends who get ‘sirred’ laugh about it too. I suppose it bothers me sometimes. But it isn’t going to stop, so I’d best learn to laugh at it.

Who was your first LGBTQ role model or elder, and how did they impact you?

My era was the era of Martina, watching her play tennis. I was a country girl and this was before the internet, so she was all I saw.

What is the biggest external issue or challenge facing the LGBTQ community today?

Mike Pence, he wants to kill us all, of that I am convinced. His internalized homophobia is so dangerous.

Who is your personal Queer Hero?

Tennessee Williams.

Do you have any advice for young queer folks who may still be defining their identity, coming out, or learning how to be their authentic selves in the world?

Find your tribe. If your tribe can’t be found where you are, leave. Give back to your tribe. You’re going to get shit from people, but everybody gets shit from someone, so stay close to your people and maintain your dignity. And think about those who died so you could be publicly queer, or trans or…whatever you want to be.

How are you involved in or how do you give back to the LGBTQ community?

I started a Pride in the small town I lived in England. It’s called Witney, a conservative place, and actually former Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency. It ran for quite a few years and was hugely popular.

I go to gay AA meetings. I am not involved currently, but you’ve pricked my conscience. I’ll email the Los Angeles LGBT Center and find out how I can get involved. I need to do some LGBT-themed anti-Pence art, some buttons.

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