This Inspirational, Out and Proud Spotlight brought to you by Nichole Meyer.
Gender Identity and Pronouns
When did you know?
I had an interest in women from the time I was pretty young, about 10-12 years old. I was more open to exploring those interests when I was about 22. I had a lot of internal struggle and didn’t know what I wanted for sure. Finally, I realized it was not that I didn’t know if I wanted to be with a woman but that I hadn’t found the one that made me stop questioning things. At 11 days shy of my 29th birthday I started talking to the most amazing woman I had ever met. One week later I was driving three hours to meet her in person for the first time. By the end of that weekend, I was sure that this was someone I needed to spend more time with. Within two months I was 100% sure this is why nothing else had ever worked out. She was my one. She was the answer to all my questions. She is mine forever.
When did you come out?
I told my best friend when I was 22, my family shortly afterward.
How did your closest friends and family react?
My family and friends were very supportive, but it did take my family a little bit of time to get used to the idea.
How has your life been enriched by the LGBTQ Community?
I definitely feel a sense of family in the LGBTQ community. I feel like for the most part, we all try to support and encourage one another. There are so many groups of people that are willing to reach out when you need someone that understands the struggles we sometimes feel.
What are the common misconceptions about being LGBTQ?
- One misconception about being LGBTQ is that it’s a choice. It most definitely is not. You absolutely do not choose who you love.
- One of us is the “man” in the relationship. WRONG. We are both very happy to be women and to be in love with a woman.
We have no desire to “turn you gay” we are not trying to raise our children to be gay and we don’t care if you are straight. We just want to love who we love without being judged or being afraid of how we will be treated in public places for something as simple as holding hands
Who was your first LGBTQ role model or elder, and how did they impact you?
My aunt came out as gay when I was 14. I was so happy to see my family embrace her and treat her the same as they always had before. Seeing that made me feel safe when I finally came out to my family.
What is the biggest external issue or challenge facing the LGBTQ community today?
People having a hard time embracing something they don’t understand or even being accepting of it.
The biggest internal issue or challenge?
Being afraid to be me in public. I want to be able to hold my girlfriend’s hand or give her a kiss without fear of negative reactions.
Are there any LGBTQ nonprofits whose work you especially admire?
I love the “No H8” campaign.
Who is your personal Queer Hero?
My girlfriend. She is so strong and confident. I envy her strength.
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?
Be true to yourself. Explore how you are feeling and don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong or “going through something” or haven’t met the right straight partner. Maybe find a community on Facebook where you can get support.
How are you involved in or how do you give back to the LGBTQ community?
My girlfriend and I are involved in the No H8 campaign