This Inspirational, Out and Proud Spotlight is brought to you by Jessie Nadeau.
Gender Identity and Pronouns
Cisgender woman. She, her.
When did you know?
I thought I was bisexual around 20, then I thought I was a lesbian for a year because I had feelings for a woman. After the relationship ended I thought I was bisexual again before identifying as pansexual. That was over 3 years ago.
When did you come out?
3 years ago
To whom did you come out first?
My friends who were part of the LGBTQ+ community.
How did your closest friends and family react?
Most of my friends and family members were fine with it. Some already knew. I believe some of my family members didn’t feel comfortable with it because we just never really talked about it.
More Intimate Questions
How has your life been enriched by the LGBTQ Community?
The LGBTQ+ Community made me feel I could be myself without being judged. This Community helped me a lot with my self-acceptance, confidence, and self-love.
What are the common misconceptions about being LGBTQ?
From my experience, the common misconceptions about being pansexual are that we are promiscuous and unfaithful. The fact that I could be attracted to someone regardless of their gender identity doesn’t mean I need or want to have many sexual partners. Some pansexuals are polyamorous and some, like myself, prefer to be in a monogamous relationship. Some people may cheat on their partner regardless of their sexuality. Being more likely to be promiscuous has nothing to do with sexual orientation. So many people think being pansexual is the same as being bisexual, which is not true. The concept of pansexuality relies upon the existence of gender identity as a spectrum.
Describe the first time someone else read you (for better or worse) as LGBTQ.
Being femme makes it harder for people to « read » me as LGBTQ+. Femmes are often mistaken for straight people. As a result, we have to come out more often. I am aware that being mistaken for a straight person is a privilege in our society. Still, it is tiring and I often feel I have to prove my identity and sexual orientation. Working in a gay club made it easier for people to read me as a member of the LGBTQ+ Community and made my dating life easier, too.
Who was your first LGBTQ role model or elder, and how did they impact you?
My lack of LGBTQ+ role models was a huge problem. Having one earlier in my life would have surely helped. When Coeur de Pirate came out as queer, 3 years ago, it gave me the courage to come out too.
Are there any LGBTQ nonprofits whose work you especially admire?
Ma Voix Pour Eux. This nonprofit organization helps both human and nonhuman animals. I met members of Ma Voix Pour Eux during Pride Montreal last year. Since then, I have been following all of their amazing work for both the LGBTQ+ Community and the vegan movement. They also highlight major problems faced by people of color who are suffering from various forms of socioeconomic, systemic and cultural injustice.
Who is your personal Queer Hero?
My friend Montana. On social media, she lets everybody know she is a lesbian. She is bold, breaks taboos and doesn’t care what anybody thinks about that. She calls out heterosexual men on their bullshit. She is my personal Queer Hero.
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?
I would suggest to not put pressure on yourself. I believe our gender identity and sexual orientation can change over time. You don’t HAVE to define yourself with a label as soon as you start questioning yourself. Some people feel they truly know their identity and sexual orientation when they are 15, other people know when they are 30. Don’t feel bad if you need to explore. Come out when you are ready. Do it with people you trust first. It might be hard to come out to some of your friends, colleagues or family members if they are close-minded. Be sure to be surrounded by people you feel safe with and support you during your coming out. Some people might need to be educated to fully « understand » your gender identity and/or sexual orientation. Truth is, they don’t have to understand it to respect it, but a lot of people would benefit from being educated on that topic. Love yourself and surround yourself with people who won’t judge you for being who you are and loving who you love. Love is love.
How are you involved in or how do you give back to the LGBTQ community?
I help nonprofit organizations during their events. I raise money for LGBTQ+ nonprofit organizations too. I use my social media to raise awareness and educate people about problems faced by LGBTQ+ people in the mainstream society. My boyfriend and I uploaded a video on our Youtube Channel « Sortir Avec une pansexuelle »to talk about the common misconceptions about being pansexual and explain what is pansexuality. I talked about my pansexuality on a popular reality TV Show and it helped many young queer folks to have the strength to come out. I receive messages on a daily basis asking me questions related to the LGBTQ+ community. I try to answer them all. In my short films, my characters were mostly queer women. In my future films, I will certainly incorporate queer people and bring light to issues the LGBTQ+ community have to face. Acceptance of LGBTQ+ rights around the world is growing, but we still have a lot of work to do. Us activists must not give up!