Coming out and exploring your gender and sexuality is a big deal. It shouldn’t be, especially when our cisgender, heterosexual counterparts don’t have to question their identity and are automatically accepted as who they are.
But being LGBTQ+ is still viewed as deferring from the norm, and with this comes pressures to provide an incredible level of detail on your identity and sex life when people inevitably ask invasive questions.
This was the biggest barrier for me when I was first coming out. I didn’t know where I fit on the spectrum of sexuality, and I felt like I needed to have a firm answer for when people asked me.
As I was exploring this piece of my identity and desperately trying to find an answer, I realized that the answer I was searching for was not what felt right for me, but what I thought others would want to hear.
And suddenly, I became all too aware that there is a hierarchy of sexuality and gender identity, and that certain labels are viewed as more acceptable than others.
This hierarchy is pervasive across all sections of society, including within our own LGBTQ+ community. There is an overwhelming sentiment that we must conform to a binary order, and that any identity that is fluid or straddles that binary needs to be left at the door.
This discovery has shocked me. How are people able to safely explore and embrace their identity if there are caveats to belonging within our own community? Equality is meaningless if we don’t accept every single identity as valid.
This is why I created Over the Rainbow, a podcast that amplifies LGBTQ+ voices. By engaging in queer activism and queer education I strive for a cohesive LGBTQ+ community, so that future generations of LGBTQ+ folk coming out don’t have to struggle to find a label that others have approved, but can fully embrace whatever form their sexuality and gender identity takes.
I hope you all join me on this journey, as we empower each other to be authentically and incredible unique and comfortable in our own identities.